- Reports have confirmed that the Sierra Leone government are aware of ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma's visit to Nigeria despite facing allegations of treason
- It was gathered that his visit to Nigeria was temporary, as he would be staying there for a while for medical treatment
- Meanwhile, it was also confirmed by the Sierra Leone government that Koroma's trial will be placed on hold until his return
Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro
FCT, Abuja - Despite facing allegations of involvement in a coup attempt in 2023 and scheduled to stand trial for treason in March, Sierra Leone's former president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has been granted permission by the High Court to travel to Nigeria for medical treatment for a maximum of three months.
While Sierra Leone's current president, Julius Maada Bio, describes it as a "humanitarian gesture," there is a widespread belief that a deal has been struck, potentially allowing Mr Bai Koroma to go into exile.
Having led Sierra Leone for 11 years until 2018, Mr Bai Koroma's trial is set to commence in March.
On Friday afternoon, observers noted the departure of a Nigerian presidential aircraft carrying the former president from Freetown International Airport.
According to undisclosed sources affiliated with the United Nations and Ecowas (a West African bloc), an agreement had been facilitated by Ecowas, stipulating that Mr Koroma would seek exile in Nigeria if charges against him were dismissed.
This arrangement aimed to alleviate tensions stemming from the unrest in November.
It was gathered that the BBC had obtained a letter indicating Mr Koroma's acceptance of the terms, ensuring that he would retain the privileges of a former president while residing in Nigeria.
Sierra Leone govt's declaration
President Julius Maada Bio addressed the nation on Thursday night, emphasising that the fate of his predecessor rested solely in the hands of the judiciary.
As quoted by BBC, the President said:
"The courts have, therefore, granted the application for the former President to depart from the country purely for specialised medical reasons, and his trial will be suspended for the duration of his absence."
Armed attackers stormed a military barracks and prisons in a recent incident, resulting in the release of approximately 2,000 inmates. Authorities reported at least 21 casualties during the violent episode.
The government classified this assault as an overthrow attempt, leading to the arrest of over 80 individuals suspected of involvement, with many having ties to Sierra Leone's military.
Dankay Koroma, the daughter of the former president, has been identified as a suspect in connection with the failed coup, as indicated in a police-wanted list.
She has not provided any comments on the matter. The coup attempt occurred five months after a disputed election, where President Bio secured a narrow re-election for a second term.
The election results were contested by Mr. Koroma's All People's Congress, and international observers criticised the electoral process, citing concerns about transparency in the vote count.
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YEN.com.gh reported that Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of WHO for Africa, has called for vigilance in anticipating the next potential pandemic.
She cited various human activities and the emergence of new organisms as factors raising concerns,
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