Late Carrington informed me of my planned arrest and offered me asylum —Obasanjo


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Tuesday the late former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, leaked the information of his pending arrest for alleged coup plot in 1995 to him.

Obasanjo, the late former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (retd), and a few other military officers were arrested in 1995 by the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.

The duo were sentenced to life imprisonment.

While the ex-president was later released in 1998, Yar’Adua’ died in prison in 1997.

Carrington, who was a key figure in the country’s quest for a return to democratic rule following the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, died last week in the US.

Obasanjo, in a condolence message to the widow of the late envoy, Arese Carrington, said he was offered political asylum in the US during his trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the World Social Summit as Human Development Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He, however, turned down the offer despite its “tempting and assuring nature.”

Obasanjo said the late Carrington helped in easing the return to democratic rule in the country during his tenure as US ambassador.

He said: “Carrington was one of the responsible, matured and respected voices to take Nigeria out of the unwholesome situation it had found itself – permanently in crisis, regularly threatened with disintegration, prolongingly devoid of democracy, and economically plundered and mismanaged.

“Indeed, I recall, sometime in 1995, that on one of my trips to Copenhagen to attend World Social Summit as Human Development Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme, I received the most touching of the warnings, pieces of advice and offers to me from Amb. Carrington.

“He called me in Copenhagen and told me categorically that I was going to be arrested on returning home and, therefore, advised me not to return home.

“But he did not stop it there, he offered me political asylum by his government in the US. That was both touching and assuring, but I decided that, tempting and assuring as the offer was, I would not take it. I came back and was arrested and imprisoned by Abacha. No doubt, his generous assistance to my family while I was a political prisoner will forever live in my mind.

“When I was in prison, he was one of the few foreign Ambassadors who regularly visited my wife to encourage her and to find out how I was doing in prison. I can proudly say he was a true friend and brother.”

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