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Late United States Diplomat, Carrington, Offered Me Asylum During Abacha Regime –Obasanjo

Obasanjo said that he turned down the asylum offer despite its tempting and assuring nature.

Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that late ex-United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, offered him asylum in America before he was arrested by the regime of late military dictator, Sani Abacha, in 1995.

Obasanjo said that he turned down the asylum offer despite its tempting and assuring nature.


In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Carrington, who died last week, as US ambassador to Nigeria.

In a statement on Tuesday by his spokesperson, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo revealed how Carrington leaked the information of his pending arrest by Abacha.

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Obasanjo remarked that during his tenure as Ambassador, Carrington helped in easing the move to democratic rule in the country.

The statement reads, “Indeed, I recall, sometime in 1995, that on one of my trips to Copenhagen to attend the 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 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 makes me forever indebted to him.

“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.”

The former President added that Carrington devoted his life to humanity “through the fairness, kindness, optimism and intelligence he brought to bear on all his undertakings, and through the righteousness, humanness and harmony he promoted in the US as a human rights activist and indeed across the world”.