James Onanefe Ibori, the former governor of Delta state, has said he will return to Nigeria “in a matter of days”, signalling a possible political comeback.
The two time governor in a statement issued by his media aide, Tony Eluemunor, on Tuesday, January 31, said: “The British government had attempted to withdraw the case from court five, before Justice Garnham to either the Queen’s Bench Division or the Crown Court.
“Ibori’s lawyers argued that this was a delay tactic by the Crown and the judge refused to grant the transfer, insisting that the case will remain in his Royal court of justice.
“This time, the case before the court on Tuesday was to determine the amount of money Britain will pay Ibori as compensation for the illegal detention he was subjected to when the British prisons did not allow him to leave on the exact day his prison sentence ended in December last year, but detained him unlawfully and illegally by a day, while even seeking for ways to further deny him his freedom by locking him up illegally.”
“As soon as possible, may be in a matter of days,” Ibori was quoted to have said, in response to a question on how soon his trip back to Nigeria would be.
“Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in briefing his lawyers may be the only thing standing between Ibori now and his journey to Nigeria,” the statement read.
Ibori was released from a UK prison in December 2016 after serving a 13-year jail term.
He was jailed on April 17, 2012. That was the third time the former governor, described as a thief in Government House, got sentenced for theft in London.
The former governor was alleged to have stolen more than $250 million from the treasury of the oil-rich Delta State, plunging even more of his people into abject poverty and deprivation. The ex-governor is expected to be prosecuted by the anti-graft EFCC when he returns to Nigeria.