ASABA- EXECUTIVE Director of the Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged, CENTREP, Delta State, Oghenejabor Ikimi Esq., yesterday, portrayed those rejoicing over the release of the former Governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, from London Prison after serving his jail term for money laundering, as deluded.
In as statement issued in Asaba, he also challenged Chief Ibori to visit Nigeria if he is sure he was innocent of the 15 million dollar bribe allegation against him by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, AIG Nuhu Ribadu (retd.)
He asserted: "We are not oblivious of the euphoria that greeted the recent release of the ex-convict from Prison by some of his political associates and kinsmen and we condemn same as an act tantamount to celebrating official corruption in Nigeria."
"We make bold to say that Chief James Onanefe Ibori by all standard is an ex-convict and not a model of any sort to our younger generation and until his appeal is heard, determined and his conviction set aside, he remains an ex-convict that should not been celebrated under any guise except by his deluded supporters.
"We also note with dismay and a thing of shame that some of Chief James Onanefe Ibori's political associates and kinsmen celebrated his release publicly with pomp and pleasantry with public funds to the detriment of the people of the state, rather than keeping a low key as pontificated by erstwhile Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan," he said.
According to him: "Furthermore, we believe that Chief James Onanefe Ibori has a case to answer back home in Nigeria over the 15 million dollar bribe he allegedly offered the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), AIG Nuhu Ribadu (retd.) and we welcome his prosecution by the Anti Corruption umpire, as same does not negate the provisions of Section 36(9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)."
"We posit that the offence of money laundering for which Chief James Onanefe Ibori was tried and convicted of by a London Crown Court on Tuesday, 17th April, 2012 are not the same in pedigree with the offence of bribing a public officer with the sum of 15 million dollars.
"Besides, Chief James Onanefe Ibori was tried and convicted by a foreign Court under a foreign Law on money laundry charges. We, therefore, challenge Chief James Onanefe Ibori to visit Nigeria to at least prove his innocence in the above regard," he said.
Ikimi asserted: "We are not oblivious of the fact that Delta State remains grossly under developed and presently saddled with a debt burden of over N634 billion in spite of the trillions of naira the state got as her share of monthly allocations from the Federation Account courtesy of massive corruption, systematic looting of public funds and mismanagement of our common wealth by Chief James Onanefe Ibori and his political family since the return of democracy in May 29th, 1999 till date."
"Therefore, we call on well meaning Deltans to take the advantage of the present Federal Government's policy of compensating whistle blowers with five per cent that may lead to the recovery of loots by public office holders nationwide in a bid to arresting the gale of landslide official corruption in our state," he said.
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