By Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOSâ€”THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday said it was doing everything possible to extradite the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, to Nigeria to face corruption charges.
The anti-graft agencyâ€™s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, who said this while reacting to reports that Chief Ibori was seeking asylum in Dubai in the United Arab Emirate said: â€œWe are doing everything possible to get him back home to face charges against him. For example, our operatives are still in Dubai working in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police towards bringing him to book.â€
On the asylum twist to the development, Babafemi said: â€œIf it is about certain reports today (yesterday), you know we donâ€™t work based on speculations, we deal with hard facts.â€
Some un-named influential Nigerians were said to be working on securing political asylum for the ex-governor arrested on May 12 in the UAE capital
The government of Britain at whose instanceÂ Ibori was arrested in Dubai had sought his extradition to face money laundering charges.
However, the ex-governor, through his lawyers sought the intervention of the court and was granted bail while the British request was being considered.
Tony Eluemunor, spokesman of the former Delta State governor, confirmed then that Ibori was arrested in the Gulf country at the instance of the British government which was prosecuting some of his associates – Udoamaka Okoronkwo (nee Onuigbo); his sister, Christie Ibie-Ibori, and a former aide, Adebimpe Pogoson – in London on money laundering charges.
It is not clear when Ibori got to Dubai. Apparently, he sneaked out of Nigeria in the face of manhunt for him by operatives of the EFCC and the Police.
He had failed to respond to EFCC summons for questioning over allegations of fraud and diversion of state funds to the tune of N44 billion during his time as Governor of Delta State.
Having failed to respond to the summons and even forcefully resisting arrest, Ibori was declared wanted and an international arrest warrant issued through Interpol.