Hundreds of Nigerians Friday stormed a London Court to witness the trial of former Delta State Governor Chief James Onanefe Ibori.
This was contained in press statement issued by Ibori’s Media Assistant Mr Tony Eluemunor and made available to Saturday Vanguard.
According to the statement: “ Many of the Nigerians who went to the court to observe the proceedings wore T-shirts with inscriptions like “Free Ibori” and “Deltans want Ibori back home.
Eluemunor further stated that some of these supporters claimed to have travelled all the way from Nigeria to the UK to demonstrate their support for the politician, but most of them were London-based.
According to the statement: “Attending Friday’s preliminary hearing which started by 12 mid-day, Ibori sported a dark blue suit and white shirt as he appeared before Judge Rivlin QC. Ibori only spoke to confirm his name. Looking trim and clean shaven, Ibori waved to his supporters at the end of the hearing. The crowd waved back.”
Eluemunor further stated: “Opening the hearing, the lead prosecuting counsel, Ms Wass explained that there were two trials to be conducted against Ibori.
She asked the court for the trials to be joined stating that ‘this is a fairly straightforward case’, she argued that since Ibori’s counsel had already been briefed of the matter having being the defence counsel in the Udoamaka Okoronkwo case, there was no reason why the matter could not be concluded before Christmas.”
“She asked the Court to handle the first matter for July and the second hearing in November. After going for a short recess, the Court set the next hearing date for 22 July 2011, by 10:00 am.”
According to the statement: “Ibori had appeared at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22 April 2011 and also appeared at Southwark Crown Court on 28 April 2011 through video link. The Judge adjourned the matter and ordered that Ibori appear in person today.”
Eluemunor further stated that security men at the Court had problems with the crowd of Ibori’s supporters as they were asked severally to leave since the public gallery was too small for such a large crowd.
According to him: “ Even when the Court security asked all the standing supporters who could not be seated to leave, they refused until the security personnel threatened to use force to eject them.”