The fate of James Ibori, Nigeria’s most celebrated financial criminal and former governor of Delta State will be determined today at a London Crown Court sitting in the Borough of Southwalk, South-East London.
He had pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge of money laundering more than a month ago as his case was commencing while his committal has been fixed for today, Monday April 16, 2012.
He is anticipating a very lenient sentencing, the reason for which he owned up in February thinking that pleading guilty would afford him less bill in legal charges as well as thinking the guilty plea would evoke a more lenient punishment from the court jury and the judge.
Ibori was extradited from Dubai last year after several attempts by the British government were challenged by the UAE authority. But the British criminal Police was to carry the day convincing the UAE of the necessity to have him arraigned in court in Britain due to several criminal activities and cocktail of financial philandering and impropriety.
He escaped to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2010 from Nigeria and was consequently arrested by Dubai authority and deported to Britain having been consistently sought by London’s Metropolitan Police.
His arraignment in court commenced in London last year but his real trial was originally scheduled to commence in London’s Southwark Crown Court on February 27 only for him to plead guilty to money laundering charges.
However, a rowdy crowd who are mainly his supporters had gathered in the court early on Monday morning and there was the presence of uniformed British Policemen who had been called to maintanin law and order.
Hundreds of Nigerians also were gathered in the Court premises this morning while the police stepped up efforts to maintain law and order. It is anticipated that many of his supporters may invoke the wrath of Police as his sentencing may not go down well with many of his supporters who may want to create ugly scenes.
Stop Press!..The London Crown Court getting set to sentence James Iborice will take a break at 2pm for lawyers to prepare for the 2nd stage and for Chief James Ibori to meet his family members and his teeming supporters inside the court.
Dare Lasisi, representing EMNNEWS reported that there was a rowdy session as his supporters were eulogising him, drwaing words from his many achievements to convince the world of his good deeds.
He reported that many of Ibori supporters mentioned all his achievements as Governor,Delta state and said many of Ibori’s colleagues in Nigeria, even the nation’s president Goodluck Jonathan are yet to match his achievements as Governor of Delta State.
Prominently advocating for leniency is Mrs Stella Okotete-Ibori, acting as Ibori’s Spokesperson.
5. 20pm….Ibori supporters and beneficiaries were so aggressive to dish out fabricated stories to portray ‘Ogborigbogbogbo of Africa’ as the true ‘friend of the poor’ and a dedicated leader that positively transformed Delta State. I ‘mistakenly’ put my mouth into their pro-Ibori discussions and I was verbally assaulted (not physically) as an ‘educated illiterate’ man. We shall meet again tomorrow
4.20pm...Some Ibori loyalists actually travelled all the way from Nigeria to London to show ‘Solidarity’.But guess what? I just heard that tomorrow is going to be the final judgement day as Ibori’s lawyers are trying so hard to appeal to the British judge to temper justice with mercy and give a lesser sentence. (Medicine after death you may say, but they are trying to make their voices heard!). Enough of corruption in Nigeria! According to Gandhi:’There is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everybody’s greed.’
2.35pm...The court will resume anytime from now. Chief James Ibori has lost weight and appeared like a lonely man. He looked at his supporters/family members inside the court lowing his head in a big bout of aflicted shame..OMG!. This is a big lesson for our execu-thieves:don’t ever keep stolen money in foreign accounts.Why not use d wealth to reduce hardship?
2.10pm… Dare Lasisi now through, surmounting the herculean task of getting through to watch the verdict live at Court 9… Got rough-handled by Police who only give some dignity to British Press… Oh my world!… very tough here!
2.05pm… Unusual sight here.. About 20 well armed police special marksmen invited to control the crowd… Must have known that this is the norm in our nation and needs to be done to bring about sanity… Tough sights!!!!!!
2.00pm.. Partiality at work as only the British Press are being allowed in while many Nigerian Press units are being shielded. Many has got no official identity… Some chaos and some angers ruling from the Nigerians disallowed.
1.55pm... Police getting nastier and threatening to arrest people that failed to move away from the Court room entrance. There are scenes of Ibori fans shouting down the Police and British government accusing of collusion with Nigerian authority, claiming that there are other hundreds of Iboris walking on Nigerian streets as untouchables. Why is Ibori the only victim?, they questioned.
1.45pm... Ugly scenes developing as police gets nasty disallowing reporters, including British Media executives from entering the Court room.