Tony Eluemunor, media aide of James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, says instead of focusing on the “victimisation and oppression” of his principal by the UK government, attention was given to the “frivolous” £1 compensation awarded to him by a London court.
On Monday, a UK court awarded Ibori a nominal £1 (about N400) as damages over his claim of unlawful detention by Amber Rudd, British home secretary.
In a statement on Tuesday, Eluemunor said the issue was that Ibori’s human rights had been violated.
He ascribed Ibori’s detention in the UK to a “long list of political persecutions he has faced both in Nigeria and Britain.”
Ibori’s media aide said it was important to note that the court could not make findings of any theft from Delta.
“The reports of some media outfits focused on the frivolous and disdained the serious mocking the £1, nominal damage. In doing so, they missed the obvious – how again Chief Ibori was victimised and oppressed by the UK government and how a British high court found in his favour and maligned the British Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) failures,” the statement read.
“The CPS’ failures have embarrassed both the home secretary – Amber Rudd and the UK Establishment that continue to cover-up its misconduct. This action demonstrates the political nature of the Ibori and linked prosecutions in the UK.
“At issue here is that Ibori’s human rights had been violated, but stretched significantly further, that detention is part of the long list of political persecutions he has faced both in Nigeria and Britain.
“The judge could make no findings of any theft from Delta state. The sums alleged to have been stolen have now apparently dwindled down to £17m, the last amount widely mentioned last December instead of the other wild figures the were routinely mouthed. In fact, the forensic evidence demonstrates, there has been no theft from Delta state.
“Many newspapers unwittingly fell victim of media manipulation when they followed the cue of a London evening newspaper to leave the essence of the judgment – the illegalities Ibori suffered in the London trial – and focused on trivialities.”
He said Ibori’s appeal against his conviction will soon commence at the court of appeal.
Eluemunor added that the former governor’s lawyers have evidence that what Ibori faced was political persecution and not a legal prosecution.