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Stay out of politics, Taylor told

Taylor left Liberia after stepping down in August.

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Charles Taylor
Olusegun Obasanjo

(CNN) -- More than a month after he accepted an offer of asylum in Nigeria, former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been warned to stay out of Liberian politics, Nigeria's president told CNN Saturday.

The Nigerian government warned Taylor that he is violating the terms of his asylum, President Olusegun Obasanjo said.

"We heard from, I will say, reliable sources that he was communicating by telephone to some of the people he left behind," Obasanjo told CNN's Inside Africa in an interview from the United Nations. "Not just communicating, [but] communicating in terms of political involvement -- in fact giving political instructions."

Obasanjo said he expects Taylor, who stepped down and left his Liberia August 11, to "behave like a gentleman" and heed the warning to stay out of Liberian political affairs. Rebel groups had long fought for Taylor's ouster.

The Nigerian president also said he "would expect" the Liberian people to investigate any war crimes Taylor may have committed. Obasanjo did not say whether he would hand Taylor back to Liberia if charges were brought, but he did not rule out the possibility.

"If the Liberians show sufficient evidence of the wrongdoing -- that criminal wrongdoing that he has done -- he still remains a Liberian," Obasanjo said. "He's not a Nigerian. I will expect him to even want to go back to Liberia some day."

Having Taylor remain in Nigeria for now, Obasanjo suggested, might even help Liberia sort out its problems.

"This is a time when we want to try and make Liberia stop being in a mess," Obasanjo said. "If the process of stopping Liberia being in a mess would mean that a leader will be in the cooler for a while, so be it."

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