Ibori Returns: Meets DSS, Attend To 170 EFCC Accusation

IBORI-D

The convicted Ex-Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, is to attend to a 170 count charges against waiting before a Federal High Court.

Reports gathered on Saturday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would soon arraign him on charges bordering on corruption.

The embattled Ex-governor journeyed into Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

According to eyewitnesses, the former governor came into Abuja using a British Airways flight that touched down at the airport around 5.30am.

Family members and well-wishers were at the NAIA to receive the former governor, as airport security officials and some staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria exchanged pleasantries with him.

It was learnt that the governor arrived with a British Airways Boeing 777 aircraft with registration G-VIID.

He travelled to Oghara, his hometown, through the Benin airport while his family, friends and associates waited in vain for him at the Osubi airport, near Effurun in Delta State, where he was expected to land directly from Abuja.

A source, who hinted sources on condition of anonymity, said the former governor would still answer questions from the EFCC and that the commission would soon invite him.

Following his conviction in the United Kingdom, there were criticisms against the Nigerian justice system, especially an Asaba High Court which had struck out 170 charges which the EFCC had brought against Ibori.

However, the EFCC took the matter to the Appeal Court where a three-man panel of justices on May 15, 2014, at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal, ruled that the ex-governor, who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison, has a case to answer.

The Appellate Court panel led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa ordered that the case be reassigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial.

The EFCC subsequently said in a statement in 2014 that the ex-governor would be rearrested upon the completion of his prison sentence.

The EFCC statement read, “With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.”

Attempts to speak with the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Saturday proved abortive.

However, a source within the commission said, “Ibori still has 170 charges pending against him. Also, the Appeal Court has given us the go-ahead to prosecute him and this ruling has not been upturned by the Supreme Court.

“As things stand, the EFCC has the right to arrest him at anytime. Ibori, among other allegations, was accused of embezzling N40bn which belonged to the state. Also, a former Chairman of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, alleged that the former governor attempted to bribe him with $15m cash.”

Meanwhile the Department of State Services on Saturday said it would soon meet with Ibori again to discuss issues of national interest.

The Director-General of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura, who disclosed this to some journalists on Saturday, confirmed that the service had a brief meeting with Ibori on arrival from the UK.

Daura stated, “He met me for a short debriefing session and the way forward. Also, to welcome him back to his fatherland. We are also meeting soon to discuss issues of interest affecting the nation.”

The DSS boss did not explain the issues of national interest.

The ex-governor was picked up by the DSS for what a security source described as a ‘routine check.’

It was gathered that his friends, family and associates were astonished when they learnt that the ex-convict had arrived in the country unheralded.

They were said to have been planning to give him a heroic welcome devoid of his status as an ex-convict.

Our correspondent gathered that Daura instructed that Ibori be brought to his office at Aso Drive, Abuja for questioning.

Ibori was said to have been accompanied to the DSS headquarters, which is also known as Yellow House, with a few associates.

Among them was the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.

At the DSS office, he was said to have been interrogated on his sojourn in the United Kingdom.

A source said the interrogation lasted a few hours and that Ibori was warned against what was described as “excessive celebration.”

The source, who was privy to the meeting with the DSS, specifically said that Ibori should avoid the Warri airport, where his admirers, associates and friends had gathered to give him a heroic reception.

The source said, “It was not an arrest as being speculated.

“The fact of the matter is that, being a high-profile ex-convict, the security agency said he needed to be debriefed and also cautioned about his utterances.

“He was warned not to do any celebration at any airport, including Warri.

“That was why Ibori had to fly to Benin before heading to his village.

“The DSS warned him also to be careful of his utterances and not to complicate the security problem in the South-South region.”

He added that the security operatives asked the former governor not to cause any problem either in his state or the country through his utterances.

It was also gathered that Ibori was told that he could be summoned to appear at the DSS office at anytime for further interrogation.

The former governor, it was learnt, promised not to jeopardise the fragile peace in his region.

He was also said to have stated that he was ready to honour any invitation “at anytime.”

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