An Ijaw group, the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI) in Delta State has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to grant presidential pardon to the former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, before he leaves office.
Speaking with newsmen, National President of the group, Austin Ozobo, said: “Chief Ibori has suffered enough and there is no justification for not granting him clemency, as had been done to others.”
Ozobo said Ibori was not the only corrupt leader in the country, but he has suffered for years more than others ever faced.
“Ibori should be freed. Hundreds of persons, who looted heavily from government coffers are walking freely in the streets. The continuous incarceration of one corrupt man among a million other corrupt citizens cannot change the menace of high level corruption in the country.
“Ibori’s imprisonment could be seen as a witch-hunt and such is highly barbaric and provocative and the Nigerian government must quickly do something about his matter.
“Despite the ordeals Ibori is passing through, Deltans hold him in high esteem and his great achievements while in office cannot be discountenanced.
“There should be no sacred cow among political office holders. Ibori’s case is not different, he is a victim of circumstances. Release him and let him breathe fresh air and let other corrupt public office holders be tried as well.”
It would be recalled that Ibori was accused of stealing $250 million (N50 billion) public fund as Delta State governor. He pleaded guilty to ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court, London.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, he was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment by Southwark Crown Court for his crimes. Several of his possessions were confiscated, including: a house in Hampstead, north London, for £2.2m, a property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000, a £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa, a fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000, a £120,000 Bentley Continental GT, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash.