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Why Ibori has not reported to EFCC

Yet, how does a country learn the right lessons from an event unless they actually have an exact understanding of that event?  This throws up…

Yet, how does a country learn the right lessons from an event unless they actually have an exact understanding of that event?  This throws up the Chief James Onanefe Ibori versus the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) face off because some public commentators appear to have the least understanding of what is at the centre of the controversy; the rule of law and the respect those in control of the coercive powers of government accord to this single but definitive mark of a civilized and democratic society.

EFCC alleges that Ibori, a former Governor of Delta sees himself to be above the law, and so does not want to submit himself to EFCC questioning.  But nothing could be further from the truth than that simplistic and one dimensional, if not outright disingenuous assessment.  

To begin from the beginning, Ibori received no letter of invitation from the EFCC until April 13 2010 and was delivered to Ibori’s Lagos home at 4.22 pm by an EFCC staff, one Mr. Mike Anigbogu. But EFCC had issued a press release declaring Ibori wanted six full hours before Anibuogu delivered that letter, dated March 22, 2010. So, that letter was delivered three weeks after it must have been written or it was deliberately backdated – so far EFCC has not explained why the letter could have taken three weeks to get to Ibori, even if a snail was its messenger.

Declaring Ibori wanted, EFCC claimed that it had delivered copies of that invitation letter in Ibori’s Abuja and Oghara, Delta state, homes. By the end of April, both letters to Ibori’s Abuja and Oghara homes had not arrived. EFCC also claimed to have invited Ibori by proxy; through staff of Delta State at Government House, Asaba. If EFCC claimed it sent letters to three addresses in Abuja, Lagos and Oghara, why did it deem it fit to send verbal messages to him at Asaba, where Ibori owns neither a house nor office?

More absurdities please; EFCC asked Ibori  to report on Saturday 17th April 2010, but it declared him wanted four days earlier, on the 13th.  So it was clear to Ibori that something sinister was afoot.

Then Ibori filed a suit against the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Asaba. It is a given fact that once a case is in court, everyone involved is supposed to maintain the status quo on that issue until the case is decided.  Thus, on Monday 19th April, 2010, the judge handling the trial ruled thus: “On the issue of the preservative order I have considered the submissions of learned senior counsel Mr J. B. Daudu and Mr Okoromah (EFCC’. I am of the considered opinion that since Mr Okoroma had submitted that since they received the court process, they have not done anything. I will equally take it that they will not do anything to prejudice the fair trial of this case. I take the words of counsel as his bond i.e. “we would not do anything that will make the determination of this matter a fait accompli”.

So, the Judge did not give an injunctive order as EFCC’s counsel had made an undertaking on EFCC’s behalf. On Wednesday April 28, the court declined to pronounce that same order, agreeing with the Attorney – General’s counsel that such an application should be written. That same day, Daudu filed that written application asking for “An Order of Injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents by themselves or through their officers, agents, privies and assigns, from arresting, harassing and/or intimidating the applicant in any manner whatsoever and howsoever pending the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s substantive Motion on Notice which has been adjourned for hearing to the 10th of May, 2010 and for such further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances”.

The above answers the question why Ibori has not reported to the EFCC; he is in court, simplicita.  The only question that remains is why EFCC has refused to obey the court ruling? To this Ibori has no answer. Mr Idowu Akinlotan, in his PALLADIUM column in The Nation newspaper of Sunday April 25, 2010 said that Aso Rock Presidential Villa – instigated “intrigues” have unsettled the land. He said “the Presidency intensified the anti-corruption war against a few members of the Governors’ Forum, particularly those who opposed Jonathan’s emergence. James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta state …found himself in the hunted list for the second time”.

That is why Ibori went to court in the first instance; for the court to answer the question if a man could be tried twice for the same charge. Ibori floored the EFCC in December last year at the Federal High Court, Asaba, on the corruption charges the same EFCC had brought against him.  And the answer to the question if Ibori is being victimized or not, or if he is facing prosecution or political persecution, will emerge therefrom.   But only the court has the power to make that decision, not agencies or individuals.  

Eluemunor is Chief Ibori’s Media aide

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