Former Governor James Ibori Regains Freedom 6yrs After [Photos]

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A British High Court, the Royal Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division, Court 1, sitting in London, yesterday, ordered the immediate release of former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, from prison, saying the move to hold him after serving out his sentence was illegal.

Ibori breathed the air of freedom at about noon, 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 freedom 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 entanglements, nonetheless, news of Ibori’s freedom sparked jubilation among his supporters in several parts of Delta State. In his home town, Oghara, the excitement turned into a carnival as supporters took to the streets dancing. 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.”

ibori-regains-freedom

 

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 seeking the immediate release of the frontline Nigerian politician.

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 Secretary of State was unlawful.

But the prosecution team urged the judge not to release him since the confiscation hearing against him was still pending. But the defence counsel countered that the law demanded the release or deportation of anyone who had finished serving his term.

After listening to both parties, Justice May ordered the immediate release of Ibori from prison. Ruling yesterday, presiding Judge, 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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