One of former President Charles Taylor’s most sturdy and devoted Butlers who traveled with him in exile in Nigeria provided a myriad of substantive information regarding Taylor’s last days in exile in Nigeria which ended in a more breathtaking and sadder catastrophe. The Butler who asked not to be named currently resides in the State of Rhode Island, US.
Butler revealed that “Ex-Pres. Taylor was excitedly received by the then Nigerian President OlusegunObasanjo. Taylor was later taken to Calabar, the capital of Nigeria’s Southeastern Cross River State where his villa was located on the hilltop guided by over 50 Nigerian security officers.
Cross River State Governor Donald Duke who enthusiastically welcomed Charles Taylor to Calabar told him to feel at home. Taylor was compelled to disclose all his wealth to the Nigerian government for safety and political protection.
The Butler further howled that the actual wealth Taylor did travel with included twenty (20) SUV Jeeps, eighty-(80) black Jemo-Size-suitcases; sixty (60) of which did contain forty-six million United States dollars (US$46M) in cash; One-thousand six hundred (1, 600) gold karats; two-thousand-five (2,500) pieces of diamonds, and twelve (12) silver pistols guns.”
The Butler said, “Taylor entrusted me with all these valuables, so I knew much about everything in those suitcases including his piled-up cash.” “Taylor asked me to prepare a package of 8 million dollars along with 50-pieces of diamonds for the then Nigerian Pres. Obasanjo when he visited Taylor at his Hillside Villa in Calabar.”
“There were 100 security officers who guided our villa, and each was paid US$150.00 every Saturday morning as a token of Taylor’s deep appreciation. The security was given some gold as well. This was different from the normal tips they received from Taylor by other Nigerians government officials who visited Taylor regularly especially on Saturdays and holidays.”
The Butler went on to say that from the moment Taylor set foot on Nigerian soil, he was bound to be exploited and/or rubbed off all his wealth by Nigerians which eventually came to fruition in a relatively short while of Taylor’s short-lived exile life in Cross Rive Stata, Nigeria.
The Butler disclosed that when Taylor’s indictment was announced officially, the Nigerian government was under intense pressure to hand-over Taylor, Taylor quickly bribed the Cross-River State, Governor Hon. Duke US$6 million along with 200 pieces of diamonds with one (1) of the silver pistols, but the governor betrayed Taylor after he promised to protect him. The governor later organized a fake route for Taylor to escape via Nigeria and Cameroon borders after which was a very highly deceptive maneuver on the part of the governor.
Governor Duke later told Taylor that all was well for his escape. “We loaded all our valuables including the remaining millions in cash, diamonds, and gold onto our fleets of SUVs at 3: am dawn. Before we departed from Calabar, one of the security officers hinted Taylor that 50 soldiers were being deployed on the route Taylor was poised to travel through for protection as a safe passage out of Nigeria.”
Behold to our dismay, the Butler said: “the 50 soldiers were planted by Governor Duke. They ambushed Taylor and his fleets which certainly happened when we were just 5 kilometers in a border town of Gamboru-Ngala were about 50 soldiers according to the Butler hijacked Taylor’s at a gunpoint and took everything away including his millions, diamonds, and golds as well as the silver pistols.”
The Nigerian police officers who escorted Taylor turned their blind eyes to what was happening as we were being robbed of everything. The officers who ambushed us pushed Taylor and the rest of us into one SUVs and took the remaining SUVs’ including all the suitcases away and left a small plastic bag with Taylor with a few of his clothes in it.
Taylor suddenly wept profusely and asked the security officers whether he could have a word with Governor Duke of Cross River State, but the security officer told Taylor that Governor Duke’s phone was no longer accessible and reachable as he was very busy attending official matters in Abuja with President Obasanjo.
The security officers later pushed Taylor into the Suv’s with the rest of us 12 in number including three Nigerian girls who were told to return to Nigeria for their safety. One of the security officers told the girls “This man is now a fugitive and a killer, so go away, you stupid girls”
As soon as Taylor was dropped off at the border town of Gamboru-Ngala, another set of Nigerian security officer immediately arrested Taylor and took him directly to Abuja after the hijacking group had left. We were later told by the escorting security officers to quickly get on-board another SUV’s back to Cross River State before then, we had been separated from Taylor and other security officers were awaiting our arrival in Cross River State. Upon our arrival, the security officer seized all our remaining belongings from the Villa. We were also told to leave Nigeria within 72 hours or risk being arrested for a war crime.
Tears quickly pulled down my chick, as all our belongings were being looted by the Nigerian security officers and nearby neighbors. A large group of Nigerians rushed into the villa vandalized it and took away whatsoever they could lay their hands on while the security officers stood by watching in disbelief. Butler is pleading with President Weah to retrieve Taylor’s wealth from Nigeria and share it with other poor Liberians in need instead of it staying in Nigeria to create job opportunities for Nigerians.” “I am prepared to testify about Taylor’s stolen wealth by the Nigerian government.” he angrily lamented.