Mon, Sep 25, 2023

Ex-Delta governor, Ibori out after six and half years in prison,

Ex-Delta governor, Ibori out after six and half years in prison,

The long awaited release of frontline Nigerian politician and former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, has finally materialised in London.

A British High Court, the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division, Court 1, sitting in London Wednesday, ordered his immediate release from prison, saying the move to hold him after serving out his sentence was illegal. Ibori breathed the air of freedom after the UK court dismissed a detention warrant lodged by the Home Office to keep him in custody, pending the conclusion of the assets confiscation trial arising from the original case launched against him.

Ibori had been due for release on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, after spending six and half years in prison before the fresh legal moves by the Home Office. Though Justice Juliet May, who heard the case for further detention, dismissed the case by the Home Office, he nevertheless ruled that Ibori could remain in the United Kingdom until the end of January when the deportation case would be heard.

The Vanguard reports that one of Ibori’s lawyers present in court said “the UK’s Home Office in a last minute bid, tried to block his release on the premise that his assets confiscation hearing remained inconclusive.”

The trial pertains to efforts to confiscate £18m (eighteen million pounds) traced to Ibori by the Home Office. This prompted Ibori’s lawyers to file an emergency hearing suit challenging the decision of the Home Office not to release him and seek the immediate release of the former Delta governor.

The lawyers won an immediate reprieve when the presiding judge, Justice May, ordered his immediate release. Ibori’s lawyers explained to the judge that there were no grounds in law under which Ibori could be detained, insisting that the refusal of the Home Office was unlawful.

After listening to both parties, Justice May who heard the emergency appeal filed by Ibori to enforce his rights, refused the Home Office’s request to further hold him in prison and ordered his immediate release without conditions.



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