James Ibori: Jubilation in Delta State as the Ex-governor Regains Freedom


There was wild jubilation in Delta State and especially in Oghara, the hometown of a former governor of the Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who regained his freedom yesterday after a British court ordered his immediate release, having served five and a half years of his 13-year prison sentence.

James Ibori regains freedom

On getting news of his release, hundreds of indigenes of Oghara trooped out en mass singing solidarity songs and marching along the major streets of the otherwise sleepy town since his departure.

Ibori was jailed for fraud totalling nearly £50 million in April 2012.

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The order for his release came despite attempts by the British Home Secretary to detain him in prison, pending the ruling on a prolonged asset forfeiture case brought against him by the British government.

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He was due for release on Tuesday, having agreed to be deported after serving less than half of his 13-year sentence.

Confirming the order for his release from prison yesterday, a statement by Ibori’s media aide Mr. Tony Eluemunor, said: “At 12.20 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, Her Honour, Mrs. Justice Juliet May, Queen’s Counsel, dropped her verdict: She ordered the immediate release of Chief James Onanefe Ibori.

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“With that, Ibori’s lawyers won a major victory against the British Home Office at the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Court 1, London, by successfully challenging the decision not to release Ibori who was due for freedom on Tuesday, December 20, after serving his sentence.

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“In a curious move, the British Home Office, instead of releasing Ibori on December 20, informed him that he would be detained on the grounds that his confiscation hearing had not been concluded.

“So, in court, Ibori’s lawyers exposed the injustice in the indefinite detention the Home Office had planned for Ibori. They told the judge that there were no grounds in law under which Ibori could be detained and that his detention for one extra day by the Home Office was unlawful.”


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