The case was reported to have dragged on for over a year before Justice Hussein Murktar of an Abuja High Court which court discharged Ibori against the crystal evidence. It is of great interest that James Onanefe Ibori escaped the hand of justice because according to the Judge the plaintiffs in the suit failed to establish a nexus between the convicted James Onanefe Ibori and the one that was Delta State Governor. Unfortunately the learned Judge almost accused Justice Awwal Yusuf, the trial Judge that convicted Ibori in 1995, of senility. “Although the surname, the middle name and the first name of the convict on the record of proceedings in CR-81-95 are the same with that of Delta state Governor, such coincidental circumstances may not be enough to conclude that Governor James Onanefe Ibori is the same person convicted in the charge. This is more so when the memory of the principal witness of the plaintiffs, Justice Yusuf, has been seriously faulted, even in events that recently happened” the Judge ruled.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested Chief James Onanefe Ibori on December 12, 2007 at the Kwara State lodge in Asokoro, Abuja and charged with 170 counts charge of corruption. Ibori pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Nuhu Ribadu, then EFCC Boss alleged Ibori attempted at bribing him with a cash gift of 15 Million dollar which Ribadu claimed he deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as evidence.
In the course of his trial, Mr. Michael Aondoaka was appointed the Attorney General of the federation. It was reported that Aondoaka used to be Ibori’s Lawyer. A Federal High Court was hurriedly built in Asaba where Ibori was to be tried. The court tried him and set him free of all the counts of the charge against Ibori and Ibori did a thanksgiving to celebrate the rot of our judiciary. At least, the second time he would escape justice by the leeway created by our chequered justice delivery system.
Tell Magazine of March 12, 2012 page 52, reports that by December 17, 2009, a Federal high court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, discharged and acquitted Ibori of all the 170-count charge of corruption brought against him by the EFCC. Marcel Awokulehin, the trial judge dismissed the case by the EFCC, arguing that the EFCC’s case was unnecessary and inappropriate. With that decision, attention then shifted to the UK courts where due to corruption allegations, his assets valued at $35 million, had been frozen in August 2007. But Aondoakaa was there to defend the former governor. The former AGF not only frustrated efforts of the EFCC in prosecuting Ibori, he also went as far as writing the Southwark Crown Court clearing Ibori and absolving him of any criminal prosecution in Nigeria. The question now is, where is Aondoakaa, the former AGF now that his friend Ibori has pleaded guilty and has been convicted of the same charges that himself the AGF defended Ibori and said he was not guilty? It was a shame that an Attorney General of the Federation could travel outside Nigeria to defend a criminal he (AGF) should prosecute.
This was the state of affairs until April 2010 when the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration reopened Ibori’s trial. At this point, a fresh allegation of embezzlement of N40 billion was pressed against him. This was happening at a time Ibori was no longer in control of the levers of power and he therefore fled from Abuja to Lagos and later to the creeks of Oghara, his homeland. It was from there he sneaked out of the country only to resurface in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE.
As it turned out, his adventure into Dubai was an error. He was arrested by the International Police, INTERPOL, and subsequently extradited to the UK.
Today, the same James Onanefe Ibori who pleaded not guilty to a 170 count charge before a Judge in Nigeria is now pleading guilty before a Judge in Southwark Crown Court in London in the United Kingdom. By the plea, James Onanefe Ibori is telling the world that he is a common thief and an armed robber, and also telling the world that the Nigerian Judicial system needs a thorough reform and a shake off. It is a shame that the same person was given a clean health bill in Nigeria on two occasions and a title of a saint.
The court gave him a sentence of 13 years imprisonment term, to join his wife, Nkoyo, his sister, Ibori-Ibie and his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo who are already serving their prison terms of 5 years each for similar offences or as conspirators in the large scale looting of the state treasury. They are all in London to serve their punishment as ambassadors of the theft-infested Ibori family. James Onanefe Ibori now leads a family of thieves or ex-convicts in London. Olle! From grace to grass? After eating with kings he now eats and lives with cockcroaches, rats, flies, geckos, lizards, and sometimes, snakes as roommates and friends and he will be their bed fellows. His meals will now be rationed and he will be adorned in a special prisoners uniform.
What else was he waiting for when all his close confidants and dependable allies were already behind the bars in Allabama city for the crime all of them committed in agreement? His wife, his mistress, his beloved sister all in Alabama city. I think they should serve their various jail terms and come back to be stripped naked round the streets of Asaba, Warri and Oghara where Ibori once reigned Supreme. This is the only way to cleanse the land of Delta of Ibori’s abomination or call it a sacrilege.
He is now the Governor of Alabama state in London and let him rule as governor for 13 years without the stress and politics of re-election. Let him steal or loot the Alabama city or give birth to his lastborn there either with his wife, mistress or sister. They should not fail to name the child “THIEF JAMES ONANEFE IBORI” in remembrance of the greatest disservice to the good and bad people of Delta State and Nigeria by extension.
Was it not Mr. Nkiakia of B-Dere that said “BAD THING NA BAD THING” True, “thing way bad, bad”. Ibori is a curse to his family and his entire village. He should rather be banished from Delta State. He is big shame.
Associate Prof. B.S. Ngaage, my senior friend and brother seemed to have prophesied when he wrote his poem “The Song of Kawabali” in his collection entitled “THE EARTH LISTENS”. How they loot public treasury and how they fall in the end for eating the food of “Kawabali” is captured therein.
It is good to reproduce Associate Prof. Ngaage here:
I, whose size is like a broomstick, have no mercurial father-in-law; I have no nairan good-father to protect me, I have a tongue that drips like morning dew, but I have not eaten the food of Kawabali.
My protruding eyes watch you but, do not compress them like those of a snail, my telescopic eyes see the depth of the Atlantic ocean.
Your mercurial metals are scattered like broken clay pots; your nairan lap unites with the union Jack; your handshake shaves bearded shins; your boot treads carcasses; you chair melodious disorderly discussions; you nurse and bruise men; you officiate and play the game; you whose siren sound send men to their ant holes; feather your cap with the song of Kawabali;
Ode gia kawabali
Taa do taa do
Oba gia kawabali
O o muu kawabali
Taa do taa do.
Ibori ate the food of Kawabali and drank the water of kawabali and so he is falling. Good lesson for big fools and “nenzip”, a thief.
Will he learn any lesson? Will those who are currently looting public fund learn any lesson?
James Onanefe Ibori seems to be a chronic thief from his indecent and inglorious pedigree. He was convicted in London twice in the years, 1991 and 1992 respectively and convicted in Nigeria in 1995. All for stealing, yet he did not learn any lesson from his escapades and convictions. He looks like someone doomed by an unbenevolent spirit. His antecedent and stealing activities have defiled warnings and he now needs to sleep in a cage.
I am surprised that people from his village of Oghara in Delta State staged a march in solidarity, begging the court in far away London to pardon the biggest thief of the year: a man they have given a chieftaincy title and a toga of honour in the past as a symbol of honour. The same man has brought dishonour and disgrace to the entire village. How indeed, are the mighty fallen!
One can recall that in the year, 2002, Governor James Onanefe Ibori was in the vanguard of the call for resource control. The events of his unbridled quest for wealth and penchant to steal only reveal that James Ibori was not calling for resource control in the interest of the Niger Delta or Delta state poor masses but a resource control of his personal stomach and for the stomach of his wife, girlfriends and cronies. Ibori can be seen to be a greedy or avaricious thief or do you prefer to call him an armed robber?
In any case, I sincerely congratulate THIEF JAMES ONANEFE IBORI on his election victory for a13 year tenure as a new governor in Alabama city in London. I wish him a successful tenure of office. ####
Barr. Gideon Kpoobari Girigiri