By Abbas Jimoh | Daily Trust (Abuja)
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), has explained how a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, reacted to the arrest of former Liberian President, Mr. Charles Taylor.
Agwai, who was also a former Chief of Army Staff, was speaking on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden Public Safety and Security Dialogue organized by the CLEEN Foundation and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
He said that when Charles Taylor left Liberia to Nigeria, he was not escorted by the Nigerian government, adding that it was the European Union (EU) and ECOWAS who brought him into Nigeria.
“He stayed in Calabar and one day, when things were becoming tough, Taylor wanted to leave Nigeria and I think he wanted to go to Libya. He left Calabar and was stopped in Lake Chad area to go to Chad and Libya. And the war was on Nigeria. Taylor is a wanted fugitive and Nigeria is allowing Charles Taylor to escape.
“In the process, the President and Commander in Chief was not even in the country when it happened. At last, Charles Taylor was apprehended. But after that incident, they now had the National Security Council meeting and I remember from then as the Chief of Army Staff, from the Army Chief of Command, the story I had from the Army Intelligence group that led to the arrest or stopping of Charles Taylor from Nigeria. And because he was identified by a Corporal who served in Liberia during the Liberia crisis.
“But my other sister services also have their own intelligence report from their own chains of command, and during the meeting, which was chaired by the President, the SSS, or DSS today said it was their personnel that arrested Charles Taylor.
“The Police said no, it was them. The army said no, it was us. And in the wisdom of the old man (President), he said that what he liked was that Charles Taylor was arrested,” Agwai said before delivering his keynote titled “Strengthening Inter-Agency Collaboration Among Security Agencies in Nigeria”.
According to him, it does not matter who did the job, stressing that the most important thing was that somebody did it and stop Nigeria from international embarrassment.
He therefore called for collaboration among the nation’s security agencies in the interest of national security and development.