Thursday, May 13, 2010

James Ibori Arrested in Dubai

Fugitive Ex-Governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori has been arrested in Dubai reports reaching Nigerian Politics Blog confirmed.  Mr. Ibori is widely believed to have financially bankrolled the candidacy of the late Umaru Yar'Adua for President in 2007.  As a result of this, he wielded a lot of influence over the late President Yar'Adua, so much so that not only was he able to evade prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for gross acts of graft and money laundering, he was able to manipulate the removal and eventual sack of its stellar chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu. Mr. Ibori who is also wanted in the UK for money laundering of millions of pounds supposedly looted from the coffers of his state in Nigeria, would be extradited to Nigeria to face trial for his crimes said the EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri.

Mr. James Ibori has had a criminal record since the 1990s when he was convicted for shoplifting along with his girlfriend (now wife) Theresa Nkoyo Nakanda on January 25, 1991 at the Isleworth Crown Court in London.  Ibori, who worked as cashier at a home improvement store, Wickes was found guilty of helping Ms. Nakanda, who worked as shop-hand steal merchandise from the shop.  Both were sentenced to two weeks imprisonment and fined 750 pounds.  In 1992, the same Ibori was convicted for credit card fraud by the Clerkenwell Magistrate’s Court in London and fined 800 pounds. Ibori left England and moved back to Nigeria sometime shortly after and shuttled between Lagos, Warri and Abuja to try to make ends meet.  In 1995, a magistrate court in Bwari, FCT convicted Mr. James Ibori for grand larceny for stealing building materials.

With a talent for criminality, Ibori somehow managed to ingratiate himself with associates of Major Hamza Al-Mustafa, former Chief Security Officer of the late Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha.  Soon he was in the inner circle of the Abacha security and hit-squad
.  He in fact along with Al-Mustafa co-owned Diet Communications, publisher of The Diet newspaper, which they used to infiltrate the Nigerian news media in the hey days of the Abacha government.  Ibori was an informant to the General's intelligence network and was reputed in some circles to have played a vital role in the infamous assassination of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain, Pa Alfred Riwane by the Abacha goons on October 6, 1995.  In bed with the Abacha killing apparatus, Ibori is said to have amassed a small fortune with which he rigged and won the governorship of Delta state in 1999.
Ibori’s arrest by the Interpol in Dubai yesterday is a welcome development.  Rather than being extradited to Nigeria, Ibori should be extradited to the UK to face the music, because he is unlikely to get what he deserves in Nigeria, from where he fled and whose law enforcement agents Mr. Ibori seems to have in his pockets.