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ECOWAS COMMENDS SIERRA LEONE FOR LETTING EX-PRESIDENT KOROMA TRAVEL                       

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ECOWAS COMMENDS SIERRA LEONE FOR LETTING EX-PRESIDENT KOROMA TRAVEL                                                                                                                 21-01-24

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has commended the government of Sierra Leone led by Julius Maada Bio for granting permission to the former president of the country, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, to travel out of the country on medical and health grounds.*

Koroma was reportedly banished on exile to Nigeria, albeit temporarily over charges of treason and other offences slammed against him over his alleged role in the failed coup d’ etat of November 26, 2023.

Twenty people were killed when gunmen broke into a military armoury and several prisons in Freetown and released almost 2,000 inmates in an apparent coup attempt.

Dr. Koroma, who was accused of plots to topple the elected government of Bio, was arraigned in court and kept under house arrest, denied the charges and described them as a political vendetta.a

LEADERSHIP had reported that a Nigerian Air Force jet had ferried the former Sierra Leonean leader to the Nigerian capital Abuja on Friday after he was given permission to leave the country on Wednesday by the country’s High court for a maximum of three months, which Bio called “humanitarian gesture”.

President Bio was, however, reported as saying that Koroma’s permission to travel does not in any way detract from the seriousness of the ongoing trial of the former president for the alleged coup plot.

The arrangement to exile Koroma was contained in a letter issued by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray recently. The letter said Nigeria had accepted to offer Koroma temporary exile after the intervention of the ECOWAS delegation led by President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana.

According to the deal in Freetown, charges against Koroma should be dropped while he begins his asylum in Nigeria.

The ECOWAS Commission in a statement yesterday expressed profound gratitude to the authorities of Sierra Leone for granting permission to Koroma to travel out of Sierra Leone.

The statement said; “ECOWAS commends the humanitarian gesture that stands to serve the greater interest of Sierra Leone and the ECOWAS region. ECOWAS renews its commitment to supporting the government and the people of Sierra Leone in their efforts to foster peace and security as well as to deepen democracy and good governance.”

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