Ibori: Why I pleaded guilty to corruption charges

Ibori: Why I pleaded guilty to corruption charges

Sunday, February 12, 2017 5:48 pm

Ibori and daughter at the thanksgiving service

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, Sunday said that he was not guilty of charges for which he was convicted and jailed by a London court.

Ibori who was recently released after completing 13 years incarceration, disclosed this during a thanksgiving service held in his honour at First Baptist Church, Oghara.

The former governor who spoke in Urhobo language while giving his speech, said that he pleaded guilty in order to regain his freedom.

He however said that when he was being taken out of the country through the river, at a point where he changed his clothes, he knew he will go and return back safely to meet his people.

In his sermon, the officiating Minister, Arch Bishop Goddowell Awomakpa, described Ibori as a gift of God.

He compared Ibori to great men of God in the Bible, like Jesus Christ, Moses, Joseph, Samson, Paul, Jonah, among others, who suffered tribulations in the course of their duty to God.

Awomakpa said the travails of Ibori stemmed from his service of upliftment and empowerment of humanity.

The cleric who prayed for good health and long life for Ibori, also prayed for the growth of Delta state and for the unity on Nigeria.

Thousands of supporters, admirers and friends of Ibori were present at the thanksgiving service held amidst watertight security.

The ceremony  was also attended by the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and top chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Traditional rulers from across Ethiope West and East, politicians from across board and thousands others were among notable dignitaries who graced the occasion.

Security was provided by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC),and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

A police Anti Bomb patrol van and an ambulance belonging to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, were also on ground.

Chief Ibori who wore Urhobo traditional atire, a gold-coloured lace top with blue wrapper to match, arrived at the church in an unmarked Lexus SUV at exactly 10.20 am, amidst cheers from his admirers.

It would be recalled that Chief Ibori who was convicted for embezzling funds running to billions of dollars, belonging to Delta state, by a London for court, was recently released from a London prison after serving a 13-year-jail term.

He arrived the country enroute Abuja international airport at about 5.30 am on Saturday, February 5 and later boarded a chartered private jet to the Benin city airport.

From there, he was conveyed in a motorcade to Oghara, his home town, where several thousands of his political associates and admirers gave him a heroic welcome.


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