Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori has been released from prison. He was released a few minutes past noon on Wednesday, December 21, upon an order by a UK court.
The Cable reports that associates of the former governor said the court ruled that Ibori be released before his confiscation trial begins.
Ibori’s media aide, Mr. Tony Elumenor also confirmed while speaking to Vanguard also confirmed that the former governor was subsequently released from custody shortly after the ruling.
Chief James Onanefe Ibori was sentenced by a United Kingdom court to prison for 13 years for charges bothering on money laundering and corruption and served out his term midnight yesterday. Expectation of his return home to Nigeria, however, remains murky as friends and associates many of who are gathered in London deliberate on the future of the former governor.
Meanwhile, the hope that James Ibori would return to Delta State this Christmas was earlier dashed following reports that he will be spending December in detention.
The announcement that Ibori will return back home and even celebrate the Christmas in Oghara, his hometown sparked off jubilation.
The announcement of his possible return was made by Chief Ighoyota Amori on Sunday, September 25, while speaking in Oghara during the 50th birthday celebration of the former commissioner for Transport in the state, Mr. Ben Igbakpa.
While urging the people to pray for James Ibori, Amori was quoted as saying:
“Our leader, Chief James Onanefe Ibori will soon return to Oghara. Chief James Onanefe Ibori will spend this year Christmas with us here.”
He told the crowd that Ibori’s return is as certain as death, adding ‘we will all gather to give him a wonderful reception here in Oghara. And our lives will begin again once he returns back to the country’.
According to Sahara Reporters, however, Ibori spoke from prison denying that he will be returning to Nigeria to spend the Christmas season. The news sparked off speculations that he had not exhausted his sentence but his release today has proved otherwise.