By Magnus Onyibe
A lot has been written and broadcast about what can be termed the James Ibori Odyssey but most of what is in the public domain are more of fiction than facts simply because, often times with all due respect, most Nigerian journalists rely too much on ready made information and news handouts instead of digging deep to unearth the truth.
What happened to hard nose investigative journalism of the genre practiced by the likes of veteran journalists like late Dele Giwa, elder statesmen and ex-governors and thoroughbred journalists such as Lateef Jakande and Segun Osoba? Admittedly, the abysmal position which investigative journalism has now sunk can be attributed in part to lack of financial resources which is constraining most media houses from devoting enough resources, if at all, to investigation of stories in the manner that manufacturing firms would set aside funds for Research and Development, R&D or Quality Control.
With such handicap, unwary media houses are being preyed upon by the likes of DFlD-British department of international aid which has been feeding media houses in Nigeria with jaundiced information about the lbori saga in London and in addition has even been allegedly providing return tickets and upkeep money for journalists that have been covering the alleged lbori money laundering trial and incarceration in London.
The broadcast and print media journalists that benefited from the DFID largess know what l’m talking about and they never cared to find out whether DFID had more than passing interest in the lbori debacle.
That is part of the negative fallouts of foreign aid, which scholars agree can be used by rich donor countries to subvert and undermine poor recipient governments.
That would be subject for a panel discussion another time.
The Belgian Attorney, Kimlish representing Bhadresh Ghohil, lbori’s lawyer who was equally jailed by the British authorities for not cooperating with them, has alleged that DFID had a deal with the British authorities to retain 50% of the proceeds to be recovered from lbori assets in the UK.
That’s what fortune hunters in colloquial terms refer to in the Niger delta as ‘kill and divide’.
The allegation has not been denied or disproved by DFID because it is true that the anti money laundering campaign in the U.K.is the brain child of DFID which has been pushing it in the past decade and it therefore has beneficial interest.
Drawing from the conventional wisdom, give a dog a bad name so that you can hang it, the British authorities have been alleging emphatically that Ibori was found in possession of unauthorized credit card with $1000 value in it and that he also through his wife, sneaked out stuff from the DIY shop, Wickes where he had worked while living in England.
If indeed the allegations are correct, they were misdemeanors associated with youthful exuberance for which he might have received warnings and probably also repented, but the U.K. authorities have been deliberately casting the alleged infractions in dark sordid light to fit the narrative that lbori is a crook who transited from small crimes in the UK into governance in Nigeria.
For instance, while sentencing lbori in 2012, judge Anthony Pitts of Southwark Crown Court, London said “ During those terms as governor, you turned your self in very short order indeed into a multimillionaire through corruption”
He continued by saying “The figure may be in excess of £200 million pounds, it is difficult to tell.
The confiscation proceedings may shed some further light on the enormity of the sums involved,” he concluded.
Judge Pitts postulation fits into the script already written by DFID working in cohort with Metropolitan Police and CPS who at first alleged that lbori stole millions of pounds ranging from £200m, then £50m and later £18m as the Home Office secretary, Amber Rudd finally alleged in court on the 21/12/2016 during his last effort to keep Ibori perpetually incarcerated.
That narrative of grass to grace is incorrect because before becoming the governor of delta state, Ibori was a businessman with considerable stake in oil/gas sector, an industry he had worked in after graduating with an economics degree from the university of Benin, in Edo state.
But the crown prosecution service, CPS would not like to have such in the media as it would contradict their efforts to portray the Ibori ascendancy to power, as if it is a rag-to-riches story, in pursuit of their nefarious objective of poisoning the minds of members of the public against lbori with their fairy tale.
And guess what?
They have so far succeeded very well, hence the average Nigerian indeed believes that lbori stole huge sums of Delta state money, but if you ask them to confirm if Delta state has complained of losing such amount to fraud and even after several visits by the UK metropolitan police, if any money was traced from lbori to the UK accounts, they go blank.
When asked if truly such colossal amounts of money has been fund in any bank account in Ibori’s name in the UK, they start scratching their heads.
Below is an excerpt of a BBC article crafted to consolidate the negative perception of lbori as created by DFID.
It was written by Andrew Walker and published on February 28, 2012 and it goes thus:
“ It is the story of a willy political operator, backing the right political horses and shifting allegiances when expedient.
“Given slightly different circumstances according to one observer, it could have seen lbori in the presidential villa rather than a British cell”.
From the tone of the BBC article, it is obvious that the British press like the Nigerian press was glove in hands with DFID, which is a clear case of media; capture which is easy because the British international aid agency has enormous resources at its disposal.
After serving as Governor in 2007, Ibori, never ran for presidency and he had no such intentions, so where did they get the impression that he could have become a president?
As a politician, and at the behest of then president Olusegun Obasanjo, lbori, being an astute politician, lbori only helped facilitate the emergence of late Umaru Yar’Adua as president in 2007.
It is perhaps all the rumors that lbori wanted to unseat Goodluck Jonathan, the then Vice President, that probably drove Jonathan into drawing a battle line between him and lbori.
Unsurprisingly, when he became acting president, Jonathan reopened the lbori case even though he had been acquitted by the appeal court, like some of the other ex governors charged to court by the EFCC. That clearly indicated that dirty politics, as opposed to justice was the driving force for the renewed lbori political inquisition.
In the light of the above, it was unsurprising that, Ibori left the country so that he would not constitute a threat to those who thought he wanted their job and the rest as they say is history.
Earlier, l mentioned how the alleged possession of unauthorized credit card and illegally removing shopping items in the place where he worked that lbori was accused of as misdemeanor, because he was actually not indicted nor did he do time in jail for the said offenses, if indeed he committed them.
This is because such minor infractions are not uncommon in the UK and worse crimes are even committed in the top echelon of Govt.
Take the case of some British members of parliament, MPs indicted for gaming the system when they were claiming mortgage allowances for non existent homes in the so called ‘ second homes’ allowances scandal which led to the setting up of a panel of enquiry that investigated the allowances paid to parliamentarians between 2004-8.
After administrative enquires, some of the MPs found to be culpable were charged to court for appropriate sanctions. Some of the indicted parliamentarians retained their seats.
Now, any of the MPs could have become the prime minister of Britain, like Theresa May who just succeeded David Cameron after the referendum because any member of parliament is in line of succession to the top position of prime minister, as a PM is actually only the first amongst equals.
So my point is that even British MPs are not saints and which is why l wonders what all the hullabaloo about lbori’s alleged misdemeanor in the UK, which is not uncommon, is about.
Why would the BBC reporter be ‘thumping his nose’ and suggesting that lbori could have become president in Nigeria and be the guest of the Queen instead of being in her majesty’s cell, when the probability of the fraudulent MPs caught with their fingers in the ‘cookie jar’ in the UK so called ‘second home’ scandal becoming prime minister of Great Britain, was more likely?
Even David Cameron, the immediate past PM of the U.K’s is equally not a saint as his family was involved in the famous Mossack & Florence law firm scandal which exposed a list of wealthy individuals holding money in shell companies in offshore tax heaven to dodge tax which is an act of corruption and indicates that nobody is infallible.
Can you imagine the poor hard working Britons paying their taxes and their leaders dodging taxes by hiding their wealth in offshore tax heavens? If someone like the UKIP leader, Nigel Farrago should instigate the masses against their leaders involved in the Panama papers scandal, would it not result in a revolt?
What’s more, the concept of tax havens like Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Panama etc. which was developed by the West, particularly the UK to dodge tax and hide funds facilitates the acts of corruption in the form of kleptocracy which the UK and the developed world have institutionalized, yet they sneer at developing world fraudulent leaders.
Is that not a case of the pot calling the kettle black?
In my view, the difference between Western world sophisticated corruption and the corruption perpetrated by leaders from developing world is that while the former engages in the act of crudely siphoning funds from public treasuries into private bank accounts in Europe, USA and Asia, which is unfortunate, corruption in the latter, which is the developed world, is encrypted in the unwholesome practices of unfair trade such as badly skewed trade pacts; the use of supranational organizations like the United Nations, UN bodies like the world trade organization, WTO, World bank, IMF etc. to keep developing world in perpetual servitude; as well as the setting up of tax havens and blind trusts which are used as conduits for proceeds of corruption.
In any case, it is a big shame to developing world leaders that stealing public funds has remained ingrained in their DNA even after being short changed over the years by their Western partners who lure them into transferring huge amounts of money to the Western financial system, only to be ditched when trouble brews back home and they loose most of the money through confiscation to the host countries.
Another act of corruption by Britain is evidenced by the systematic stealing of artifacts from Nigeria by the British explorers who hundreds of years ago leveraged on their seafaring skills to embark on expeditions to Africa on the pretext of spreading religion, then extending their relationship to slave trade, before eventually invading flourishing African kingdoms in order to steal their rich artifacts which were priceless in those days.
Till date the queen Idia bronze head, stolen from Benin kingdom amongst many other artifacts are still in British museums and homes.
It was Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe who best described the rip off by putting it this way:” The white man came with the bible to Africa, and told the black man to close his eyes for prayers.
When the black man opened his eyes, he had the bible, while the white man had the land”.
That in my view is the height of British bare knuckle heist, being sugar coated as Justice today.
Given the scenarios above, in my considered opinion, as it was written in the Holy Bible, let he that is guiltless cast the first stone.
I urge Nigerians to take a critical look at the lbori odyssey without prejudice because the truth is that lbori and Orji Uzor kalu are the only Governors of the class of 1999 that had at least £5m in their accounts in the UK before 1999.
In fact, then General Olusegun Obasanjo, OBJ who had just been released from prison and was being nudged to run for the presidency following the sudden death of Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of June 12, 1996 election befriended lbori to garner financial support for his presidential campaign in 1999.
It may be recalled that when OBJ recently labeled National Assembly, NASS member as corrupt, they retorted by tagging him the grandmaster of corruption and corroborated their claim by insisting that it was the former president that introduced the concept of passing ‘Ghana Must Go’ sacks of money to NASS members to influence them to pass legislation in favor of his alleged third term bid.
So as the saying goes, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
Another apt African proverb that is relevant here is that people should be careful not to throw stones into the market place as they may be inadvertently is pelting their mother with the stones.
It may be recalled that at a point in Nigerian history, some innocent leaders have been known to be accused of stealing public funds in without evidential proof of the allegation.
Take the case of president Muhammadu Buhari.
When he was petroleum minister, under the regime of the General Olusegun Obasanjo as military head of state in the 1970s, he was accused of stealing N2.8b of Nigerian oil money, but the allegation was unsubstantiated and subsequently Obasanjo who was Buhari’s boss at that time, absolved him of any wrong doing in writing and verbally.
Undoubtedly, in my reckoning, Ibori was just a scape goat who had to be sacrificed by the EFCC to justify all the funding it was receiving from foreign aid agencies like DFID which also had to justify to British people the efficacy of the initiative which had been gulping public funds.
This is why the crown prosecution service, CPS of UK suppressed information about Ibori’s genuinely earned wealth prior to becoming governor and kept claiming that lbori’s wealth is stolen from Delta state Government, yet metropolitan police had combed all records in Delta state and they have been unable to find any missing funds, how much less link same to James lbori’s assets in the UK.
So what is being revealed now is that all along, lbori was jailed based merely on conspiracy theory and not hinged on any hard facts.
Meanwhile, contrary to the truth, the DFID has been using the Nigerian media to gorge the unwary Nigerian public with falsehood about lbori.
Although, it’s difficult to believe, but it is the simple truth and very soon it will be proven in UK court as
Ibori will seek to redeem his damaged image by proving that prior to becoming governor in 1999, he had bank accounts in the UK linked to oil service firms that rendered services to multinational oil firms like Chevron, SHELL, Mobil in Nigeria, where his firm MER Engineering supplied house boats used in offshore oil locations and rendered other oil/gas related services.
Financial considerations from such legitimate ventures as a businessman enabled him purchase the houses, apartments and cars that he is being accused of acquiring via proceeds from corruption in the UK.
That’s in addition to his legitimate income in terms of salaries and allowances as Delta state governor for eight, 8 years.
In fact, what some Nigerians with open mind might discover is that some of the assets being alleged to have been purchased with proceeds of corruption predate his ascension to power as governor in 1999.
And the truth is that Ibori’s net worth including the $4m deposited for the jet (which was part of a business venture of private jet rental) and now in the custody of UK authorities as well as all the real estate assets in the UK marked down for confiscation, is not up to £10m. That’s a far cry from the initial £200m then £50m and the latest £18m figure thrown into the public arena by the DFID and its partners in crime to instigate the masses against lbori.
If the very critical information about lbori’s other sources of income which are very material to the case of money laundering was disclosed, the crown prosecution service, CPS might not have been able to sustain the claim that Ibori had no other source of income than proceeds from delta state Government purse which they built their case on.
Lawyers would appreciate what l’m taking about and little wonder the prosecutor Sasha Wass from CPS and detective John McDonald from Met Police have been suspended and reassigned from the lbori case following the in-house inquiry forced by Ibori’s lawyer, Bhadresh Ghohil when he alleged and proved police complicity in the Ibori case through a petition he sent to the British parliament after he was initially rebuffed by the metropolitan police.
In any case, given what has been unraveled, lbori is poised to challenge his unjust sentence via an appeal that would reveal all the inconsistencies inherent in the obnoxious British legal system, which by all intents and purposes, seems hell bent on keeping the so called ‘stolen loot’ of £18 million pounds as the home office secretary Amber Rudd alleged in court during the trial on 21/12/2016, in her failed attempt to further deny lbori, his fundamental right to freedom.
Curiously, Amber Rudd’s desperation to strip Ibori of the purported £18m wealth in the UK exposes the nefarious intent of the nebulous British law on money laundering and here is why?
If indeed the money that was stolen from Nigeria was kept in Britain, what gives British Home office or DFID the right to its ownership? Is it not an evidence of institutionalized corruption?
Does such plot not suggest that people from developing economies are lured to deposit so called ‘dirty’ money in British banks only for the British DFID to blow the whistle on the depositors and trigger legal actions and commence confiscation procedures to strip the victims of their funds and thus enable the British government reap where it did not sow?
It’s a pity that time and time again, politicians from developing world keep falling into the trap by dipping their filthy fingers into public treasury, sending the funds to foreign lands and eventually being disposed of the alleged loot.
The fact is that, l’m as riled and appalled by acts of corruption as president Buhari, ex pm David Cameroon and other men and women of goodwill, but my conscience would not allow me align with the malleable British judicial system that undermines equity and justice to achieve a selfish end.
When Ibori was jailed in 2012, l wrote an article titled “ Ibori: ls There Any Justice In This World?” published on the back page of THISDAY newspaper and other social media platforms.
In it, l argued that the West, especially Britain appear to be applying double standard in its justice system instead of leading by example.
My thesis was that the UK is only paying lip service to corruption by applying double standards rankled the British authorities so badly that it generated a lot of discussions online.
To put in contest how complicit the British judicial and law enforcement system is in global corruption malaise, especially with respect to the city of London, which puts the UK in no moral position to pontificate, one only needs to lift the veil on the ownership of choice real states in London to see the conundrum between global criminality and real estate business, which is the back bone of London and by extension the UK economy.
It’s not by chance that most of the properties in high brow London neighborhoods- Knightsbridge, Saint John’s Wood, Kensington, Chelsea, Hampstead etc. are owned by foreigners from India, Pakistan and Nigeria essential owing to historical ties through colonialism to those countries now known as commonwealth countries.
The transfer of wealth into the British economy through the purchase and ownership of such assets by foreigners actually help boost the economy and GDP of London, that’s why foreigners are encouraged to acquire the high value properties even if the authorities sometimes have to circumvent the conduct of due diligence process of Know Your Customer, KYC which is mandatory.
If you think such perfidy is impossible, and that l’m probably making up the issues that l have raised, consider how British authorities looked the way while the banks manipulated LIBOR rates over the years and the subsequent punitive measures taken against the London financial system by United States banking authorities.
Furthermore, efforts can be made by those who care to find out the truth by checking out London’s new mayor, Sadiq khan’s recent efforts to fight corruption by unveiling the layers of legal disguises in the form of Trusts etc. that provide the secrecy over the real owners of choice London properties.
The move ruffled the features of property owners in London and real estate firms to the extent that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan had to put on hold, the scheme which was part of the resolutions from the Anti Corruption Summit organized by then Prime Minister, PM David Cameroon in London. That was the event attended by president Muhammadu Buhari and where then PM, Cameron told Queen Elizabeth that leaders of the two most fantastically corrupt countries in the world were in attendance.
Unfortunately, the reformist Cameron fell on his sword after losing in the BREXIT polls-a referendum conducted to determine whether Britain should remain or exit the European Union, EU.
British hypocrisy on corruption was the subject of my article titled “The Anti Corruption Blow Back In London” which was my assessment of the outcome of the anti corruption summit hosted by then PM Cameron and published widely on both mainstream and social media platforms.
My submission in the article is that after some wily developing world kleptomaniacs bring in the stolen funds in the UK financial system, the British Government then bilks the unwary investors from developing countries by supporting their persecutors from their home countries when, not if they are accused of corruption, because from the get go, the British authorities know via Know Your Customer, KYC processes that the funds being brought into their financial system were ill gotten.
In the case of lbori, the British authorities which was on a vendetta mission since he had lived in London previously, was so hell bent on nabbing him, that they had to engage in all manners of cover ups tantamount to working from the answer to the question instead of the other way round to accomplish the objective.
I’m not saying that the entire British legal system is perverted, but l’m peeved that the judicial system with regards to Money laundering laws driven by DFID is so disingenuous that there is a caveat that enables the Government keep a huge chunk of the accused’s funds in the UK after confiscation trial, hence the British home office secretary, madam Rudd was so desperate to keep lbori in prison until he is stripped of his assets, even though he had finished serving his term on 20th December, 2016.
Fortunately, as they say ‘ A Daniel has come to judgment’ hence the presiding high court judge in London, Mrs. Justice Juliet May refused to yield to the pressure mounted on her to accede to the request that lbori be kept in prison beyond his due date for release.
The learned judge put it best when she said, “You don’t hold someone just because it is convenient to do so and without plans to deport him or her”.
One thing l expected Nigerians to be asking the British authorities is how much of the so called ‘ loot’ from Nigeria is being returned to Nigeria and how much is being retained in British vaults and what’s the justification?
But alas, nobody seem to have asked the British authorities why they looked the other way when the so called looted funds were being transferred to the UK banks when the popular banking rule KYC is supposed to prevent illicit funds from Politically Exposed Persons, PEPs, being stashing away in British banks.
It is simply because it was convenient for them to enjoy the ‘float’ from the funds while the going was good and suddenly get sanctimonious when the heat gets turned on the owners of the funds back home.
Is it not such a shame that the British system gains both ways?
While the money is active in their financial system they gain, when the fund is confiscated, the British authorities keep as much as 50% of the proceeds.
Has anyone asked the British authorities what happened to the huge funds allegedly fund in the London apartment of the late Diepreye Alamiesegha, former governor of Bayelsa state and where is the funds also allegedly recovered from Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau state?
Perhaps, the EFCC may be able to give account of the funds, if they were indeed returned by the British authorities to Nigeria and contradict or correct me if l’m wrong on how much was returned and the sum or percentage that was retained in the UK.
This is probably part of what prompted president Buhari to, in response to the allegation that Nigerians are frantically corrupt by then PM Cameron, demand that the UK should return Nigeria’s funds still being retained in the UK.
President Buhari has similarly expressed frustration about the difficulties that he is experiencing trying to recover hundreds of millions of dollars of the so called Sanni Abacha, former military head of state’s loot particularly from Switzerland the USA etc.
How long will Nigerians and indeed the black man remain in servitude to Britain and the white man in general? From being slave traders that stripped the continent of millions of its youths who were either lost in the tribal wars instigated by Western slave traders or carted away and sold off as slaves to serves as ‘beasts of burden’ in the plantations in the New Found land-now USA; to being colonialists when slave trade was abolished; to the present practice of neo colonialism reflected in their unfair trade agreements/pacts and the use of aid money to circumvent the sovereignty of financially weak countries, Africa has remained a victim.
Honestly, Nigerians who seem to be looking only at the surface of the issue of corruption especially amongst politicians and their opponents, have to search beyond the rich also cry syndrome of gloating over the misfortune of fellow citizens and ask hard questions about how the alleged stolen funds got to overseas banks; what the foreign countries did or did not do to prevent the so called looters like Sani Abacha from making their countries safe havens for the spoils of office and how much was repatriated home after the funds were discovered as well as how it’s being managed subsequently.
In the course of organizing confirmation hearing for Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC, by the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria, citizens have been regaled of how funds recovered have been unaccounted for by the EFCC leadership.
The first salvos were fired between pioneer EFCC chairman and his successor in office, Farida Waziri who traded accusations on mismanagement of recovered and donated funds from international organizations supporting the agency. Does that not indicate that even the recovered looted funds are being re-looted?
Instead of pressuring authorities to account for proceeds from corruption that has been recovered, energy is being dissipated on the debate on whether lbori, who was used by his political foes as ‘scape goat’, while using anti Corruption as the cannon fodder, deserves to be given a hero’s welcome by his kith and kin.
So all along, it’s conspiracy theory not hard facts that the EFCC, Metropolitan police and CPS have been holding unto.
Meanwhile there are links of Ibori’s bank accounts in the UK to providers of services to multinational oil firms like chevron, SHELL, Mobil etc. where he supplied house boats and rendered other services as a businessman for which he received payments enabling him to purchase apartments and cars that he is being accused of owning.
In fact some of the assets predate his ascension to power as governor in 1999.
If such information was disclosed, the crown prosecution service, CPS might not have been able to claim that Ibori had no other source of income than proceeds from Delta state Government purse.
Any way lbori is challenging the sentence via an appeal that would reveal all the injustices of the British legal system which by all intents and purposes seems hell bent on keeping the so called stolen loot in the U.K.
Most of the properties in Knightsbridge, Saint John’s Wood, Chelsea etc. are owned by foreigners from India, Pakistan and Nigeria essential owing to historical ties through colonialism to such countries. The transfer of wealth into the British economy through ownership of such assets by foreigners boosts the GDP of London economy that’s why foreigners are encouraged to acquire the high value properties even if they have to circumvent the proper due diligence process of Know Your Customer, KYC which is mandatory.
Having brought in the investments, the Government bilks the unwary investors by supporting their persecutors from their home countries, as is the case with lbori and that enables the state keep a huge chunk of the proceeds after confiscation trial hence the British home office was desperate to keep lbori in prison until he is stripped of his assets, even though he had finished serving his term on 20th December, 2016.
Nigerians are not bold enough to ask how much of the so called ‘lbori loot’ is being returned to Nigeria and how much is being retained in British vaults.
Nobody has asked British authorities why they looked the other way when the funds were being transferred to the UK banks.
Why is that it was convenient for them to enjoy the float while the going was good and suddenly get sanctimonious when the heat gets turned on?
Best of all for them, they get to keep about 40% of the proceeds. Is any one still wondering why the home office was struggling to keep lbori in jail beyond the date that he finished serving his jail term just to ensure that he is striped of his assets most of which he had acquired through legitimate business practice before he became governor?
Obviously, the British legal system is rotten and that’s contrary to the notion that only the Nigerian judicial system is tainted by corruption, a falsehood nursed by some angry Nigerians youths, who have the penchant for not seeing anything good in Nigeria.
And to a large extent the warped views of some of our misguided youths are owed to the fact that the financial muscle of the EFCC and international aid agencies like DFID in the media arena is so formidable that the notion of lbori being guilty as charged has become very entrenched to the extent that the truth does not matter anymore.
No longer is objectivity being brought to bear otherwise, it could have been known that Ibori’s lawyer Ivan Krolic had put the police detective that investigated lbori in the witness box after carrying out forensic examination of the documents that was used to nail Ibori, and the police detective admitted that the so called evidence are tainted.
Although the embattled and battle weary lbori pleaded guilty to the charges money laundry charges, without going through trial, he did so because he was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
His only sister, Christine, his wife Nkoyo and his mistress, Udoamaka as well as his lawyer Bhadresh had been jailed in the UK arising from the crime allegedly committed by lbori.
Under such circumstances of encirclement, entrapment, and psychological warfare, especially when his liberties had been removed via long incarceration in Dubai, as a human being, lbori capitulated.
If for nothing else, because he could not go on fighting to escape being jailed after four people very close to him had been jailed on account of his alleged crime.
Picture the EFCC in Nigerian seizing the mother, wife and infant child of a financial crime suspect as ransom and you will have a good sense of the type of psychological torture that lbori was subjected to in order for him to capitulate to the cruelty of the British judicial system that wanted him in jail by hook or crook.
As a BBC article titled New Evidence Supporting Cover-Up Claims in Ibori Published on 16 September 2016 by Mark Easton noted “The principal question before the court is whether the convictions are safe by virtue of the CPS prosecuting counsel having deliberately misled the courts on a number of occasions in respect of a number of defendants over a period of five years”.
Relying on the weight of the monumental discoveries of British judiciary and police cover-up and complicity in the political conspiracy to jail lbori referred to in the BBC article above, which was cooked up locally in Nigeria and consummated internationally in the UK, with DFID hand in gloves with the EFCC, Metropolitan Police and CPS as executioners, the chances that all the five victims of the perverted British Justice system will seek redress and get judgment in their favor in court, is very high.
My optimism is hinged on the fact that her majesty, the queen’s crown court, that is revered all over the world, and particularly in all the commonwealth countries, would like to redeem its blighted image by the lbori saga by seeking to hold out itself as the bastion of Justice and so it would most likely do the right thing at the right time.
Already, Bhadresh Ghohil, an Indian born British citizen is in the court of appeal seeking to quash his conviction.
The likelihood of lbori and his three family members following suit is very high and hopefully the cruel behind the scene atrocities would be laid bare and justice dispensed equitably.
As the old legal wisecrack goes, Justice delayed is justice denied.
The lbori odyssey may be an exception, because it can never be too late to seek and get Justice.
If lbori comes out triumphant with the conviction reversed, it would prove that even if it takes eternity, it is wise to pursue justice until one gets it.
Welcome home, Odidigborigbo!
• Magnus Onyibe, a development strategist and futurologist, is a former member of Delta State Cabinet