On The Eve Of Nigeria’s Landmark Elections: James Ibori Extradited!

Sandra Appiah April 15, 2011

By Wilson Idahosa Aiwuyor

Former governor of Nigeria’s oil producing Delta State has been extradited to the United Kingdom to face multi-million dollar corruption charges. This development comes in less than 24 hours to Nigeria’s landmark (April 16) presidential elections, in which tens of millions of Nigerians hope to vote out of power the country’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Ibori is a key figure in the PDP, a party generally considered to be highly corrupt.

Ibori had fled to Dubai to evade arrest from Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The agency declared him wanted in connection to stolen funds during his eight years rule (1999-2007) in the state. He was arrested in Dubai in May 2010, where he fought against his extradition to the UK. He lost his case, and would now have to answer to charges of money laundering.

Ibori’s wife, his mistress, his sister, and his lawyer have since been convicted in the UK for helping him to launder funds worth $290 million belonging to Delta State.

The conviction of corrupt Nigerian politicians like Ibori would be a major boost to Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade which has over the years recorded some success, but has sometimes been compromised by influential politicians and their international accomplices, including foreign banks and multinational corporations.

A report by the organization Global Witness published in October 2010 profiled some top UK banks that are complicit in Nigeria’s government corruption. The title of the report was self explanatory: “International Thief Thief: How British Banks are Complicit in Nigerian Corruption.”

Also, in December 2010, Nigeria’s EFCC dropped corruption charges against former US Vice President Dick Cheney only after Halliburton promised to pay a fine of $250 million. Cheney was implicated in a $180 million fraud committed in Nigeria by Halliburton when he was chief executive of the company.

Exposing high profile corruption enablers and the fraudulent activities of powerful corporations in Africa and around the world strengthens the struggle of the people against looting and exploitation. When this is backed up by the people’s democratic power exercised through free, fair, and credible elections, we can create a better society.

The extradition of Ibori on the eve of presidential election, which many Nigerians believe would to be a great improvement on the previous ones, is a good omen.

Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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