The federal government of Nigeria announced yesterday that it had granted deposed Haitian leader, Jean-Betrand Aristides temporary asylum in a statement signed by presidential spokes-person, Mrs Remi Oyo, which said the former Haitian leader has been granted asylum in the country “for a few weeks until his movement to another nation.”
She said the decision to grant Aristides asylum followed a formal request by the Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM), under the leadership of Prime Minister P. I. Patterson of Jamaica, and that government took the decision after CARICOM had made a written request to President Obasanjo to give the former Haitian leader a “staging post for a few weeks until his movement to another destination.”
The presidential spokesperson said President Obasanjo had before taking the decision, consulted widely with countries in the African union and the government of the United States of America. “After receiving the CARICOM request, Nigeria undertook widespread consultations with African leaders, the leadership of the African Union, the US government and other concerned authorities.
“Following the concurrence received after these consultations Nigeria has agreed to grant the request from CARICOM,” Mrs. Oyo’s statement explained.
Aristides, a Roman Catholic priest was last month deposed following an uprising resulting in weeks of unrest. He was initially taken by the US army to Bangui in Central Africa Republic and from there to Jamaica.
Aristides has since his exile, maintained that he was still the elected leader of Haiti, saying he was abducted by American soldiers and flown to the Central Africa Republic.
The federal government last year granted asylum to former Liberian president, Charles Taylor who now lives in Calabar, Cross River State.