I wasn’t deported to Nigeria – Ibori

A former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who arrived Nigeria on Saturday after his release from a London prison, has said he was not deported from the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ibori said he left the UK “voluntarily”.

There have been reports on social media that the ex-convict was deported from the UK.

“It would be easy to verify that I was not deported because the deporting country’s officials would always hand over deportees to Nigerian Immigration officials and documents would also be exchanged,” Mr. Ibori said, Monday, through his spokesman, Tony Eluemunor.

“Those who have chosen to report lies and claim that I was deported know that no document exists anywhere in the world to back up those malicious claims.”

Mr. Ibori said correspondences between his solicitors and the British Home office were there as a proof that he was granted leave to exit Britain “voluntarily.”

The former governor said he did not want to announce the exact day he was to leave the UK to avoid creating crowd control challenges for the security agencies back home. But all his effort to keep his trip to Nigeria secret failed, he said.

Mr. Ibori had a rousing welcome at his hometown of Oghara, Ethiope West local Government Area of Delta State on Saturday.

He was convicted of corruption and money laundering on April 17, 2012, after five years of trial.

The Southwark Crown Court, UK, sentenced him to 13 years in prison while his houses, luxury cars and other property items were confiscated.

The judge, however, ruled that Mr. Ibori would spend half of the jail term which is six and half years.

Born on August 4, 1959, Mr. Ibori was the governor of Delta from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

On arrival on Saturday, Mr. Ibori met with the Director General of the State Security Service, SSS, as confirmed by the agency’s boss, Lawal Daura.

Nigerians had earlier expressed divergent views on whether Mr. Ibori should be prosecuted for corruption upon his return to Nigeria since the money he laundered to the UK was allegedly stolen from Delta State when he served as governor.

Meanwhile, the former governor has advised Nigerians to disregard the Twitter handle @ChiefIbori, saying that he was not on the social media platform.

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