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Ibori back to Nigeria after 6 years, returns to UK Feb 17

Ibori back to Nigeria after 6 years, returns to UK Feb 17
February 04
10:21 2017

James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, has returned to Nigeria, six years after he was arrested in Dubai – Interpol operatives nabbed him on May 13, 2010 – and he was subsequently extradited to the UK.

TheCable understands that the British Airways flight Ibori boarded from London arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja, at 4:30am.

His arrival took many of his associates by surprise.

“He said he did not want any crowd,” one of his associates told TheCable, saying Ibori was “evasive” on when he would return to the country “up till Friday night”.

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When he was released in December, there was outrage at the public display of solidarity by his friends and associates.

He is expected to return to the UK to keep his February 17 date with the Southwark Crown Court in the ongoing asset seizure hearing.

A UK court convicted him of fraud in 2012 and handed him a 13-year jail sentence.

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He regained freedom in December, after serving four and the half years and agreeing to be deported from the UK.

On Friday, Ibori appeared before a court for confiscation trial. The trial was presided over by David Tomlinson, a justice at Southwark Crown court.

The ongoing trial is to determine if his assets should be seized after serving his jail term.

Amber Rudd, the home secretary, had earlier said the only condition for deporting him is handing over the “proceeds of crime”.

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On Tuesday, his suit against the secretary of state (home office), seeking to stop the UK government from further detaining him any further, was heard by Justice Garnham of the Royal Court of Justice, Fleet Street, London.

Ibori’s lawyers led by Richard Murkin, had argued that the Crown was trying to delay the suit and pushed for the court to rule that government was abusing its powers by seeking to detain Ibori any further on the premise that his assets confiscation case remained undecided.

He asked the judge to award compensation to Ibori for “unlawful detention”.

Speaking outside the court on Tuesday, Ibori told BBC’s Mark Eastman that he was planning to appeal his conviction and return to Nigeria.

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When asked how soon his trip home would be, he said “as soon as possible, may be in a matter of days.”

Ibori was mobbed by a large number of Nigerians who came to identify with him in his travails. He shook hands with many of them, exchanging pleasantries.

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He was governor of Delta between 1999 and 2007.

It was a carnival-like atmosphere in Oghara, his hometown in Delta, when the news of his release went round in December.

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The situation there at the moment can only be imagined.

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