Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday agreed to transfer the custody of exiled former Liberian president Charles Taylor to the new administration in his country.
"Obasanjo has today March 25th informed President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf that the government of Liberia is free to take former President Charles Taylor into its custody," said a statement issued by Obasanjo's spokeswoman Oluremi Oyo.
The statement said Obasanjo had consulted the current and former chairmen of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after receiving a formal request from Johnson-Sirleaf over the Taylor issue earlier this month.
Nigeria granted Taylor asylum in August 2003 following agreements it reached with the international community, the AU and the ECOWAS to pave the way for stability and peaceful conduction of the 2005 presidential election in Liberia after 14 years of civil war.
But shortly after, both the US government and the UN-backed special court in Sierra Leone mounted pressure on Nigeria to release Taylor so that he could face the alleged indictments at the court.
"Since 2003, the federal government of Nigeria has resisted persistent pressures to violate the understanding of 2003 and to deliver Charles Taylor to the Sierra Leone Special Court."
"Rather, the federal government has insisted that Charles Taylor can only be turned over, on request, to a democratically- elected government of Liberia at a time that such a government considers appropriate."
And now, according to the statement, Johnson-Sirleaf constituted her determination in her letter to Obasanjo that the time was "opportune" to extradite Taylor following "timing and continued peace in Liberia."
The statement did not say when Taylor, who is living in the southeastern Nigerian city of Calabar with about 70 aides, would be transferred.