Former Sierra leone president Ernest bai koroma departs for Nigeria amidst treason charges.

Sierra Leone’s former president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has left the country for Nigeria by plane, as confirmed by Reuters reporters. This move comes after a high court granted him permission to travel abroad on medical grounds, despite facing treason charges related to an alleged involvement in a failed military attempt to overthrow the government in November.

Ernest Bai Koroma, aged 70, was charged with four offenses on January 3, and the court’s decision to allow him to leave Sierra Leone raised concerns about potential domestic tensions, especially in the aftermath of the 2023 election. President Julius Maada Bio was reelected for a second term in that election, but the main opposition candidate rejected the results, leading to international partners questioning the validity of the vote.

Koroma’s legal team has dismissed the charges as “trumped up” and part of a political vendetta. On Friday afternoon, a Reuters reporter at the Freetown airport witnessed Koroma departing on a Nigerian presidential plane. The plane later landed in Abuja, Nigeria, where Koroma was welcomed by Nigerian officials and the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), according to a second Reuters reporter on the scene.

Despite this development, ECOWAS has not provided an immediate response to requests for comments. The recent visit of Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, to Sierra Leone has fueled speculation that the regional bloc may have played a role in brokering a deal with Sierra Leone authorities to allow Koroma to relocate.