By Our Correspondent
A former Governor of Delta state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has returned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom where he had served a 13 year jail term for money laundering.
The former governor reportedly arrived the country early Saturday in Abuja and is expected to arrive his hometown Oghara later in the day via Osubi Airport in Warri.
He left London on Friday to begin the journey home, after a court gave him the greenlight to leave.
Ibori was released from British prison in December after serving half of his 13-year sentence, taking into account pre-trial detention.
He was jailed for money laundering, an offence for which his wife, lawyer and some close relations were also jailed for.
In several interviews, Ibori did not rule out a future role in politics.
“What happens in African politics – you are in it until you die,” Ibori told Reuters in London on Tuesday.
“I am a politician, I will always be a politician. I play the politics in my party and in my country for the good of my people,” he said after a court hearing, part of ongoing legal proceedings in his case.
Asked if he would run for office again, Ibori said he was barred from doing so for 10 years because of his conviction, but that he intended to appeal to have that conviction overturned.
The appeal would centre on an allegation, made by one of Ibori’s former associates, that a British police officer had taken bribes in return for inside information on the case before Ibori’s conviction, and that prosecutors had covered it up.
British police say the allegation was investigated, resulting in no arrests or charges.
The state prosecution service says material supporting the allegation exists and it initially failed to disclose that to Ibori’s defence team, but it is confident Ibori’s conviction remains valid. Court proceedings are ongoing.
Just like his release in December, his arrival in Warri and Oghara today is expected to trigger dancing in the streets.
James Ibori arrives Abuja from UK, expected in Delta today
By Our Correspondent