IboriVest: The ‘Ibori Loot’ is almost here, alongside questions | The #YNaijaCover

On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the United Kingdom, through the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing was known to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to return the sum of £4.2 million assets stolen by former Delta Governor, James Ibori to Nigeria.

Prosecutors in the UK say he stole an estimated £117 million from Nigeria.

At the signing of the MoU at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Justice, Laing said the money was recovered from friends and family members of the former governor.

She lamented that many Nigerians were in the habit of siphoning money from the country to the UK, saying that has also affected the level of trust between the two countries.

Laing warned that the UK will no longer be used as a destination for looters to siphon proceeds of crimes.

The loot, however, has sparked conversations on what it should be used for and where the money belongs.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said that the money will be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road.

In disagreement, some social media users have insisted that the money is Delta’s resources and should be given to the state.

The conversation is premised on the fact that James Ibori was state governor and it was the state’s resources he had siphoned.

However, Malami explained why the loot recovered will be used for federal projects.

He said, on Channels TV Politics Today that, “the major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy.”

He argued that the law that was alleged to have been breached by Ibori was a federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.

“All the processes associated with the recovery were consummated by the federal government and the federal government is, indeed, the victim of crime and not sub-national,” he said.

Negating this, the Delta Government says it will challenge federal government’s plan to deploy the recently returned £4.2 million (around N2.2 billion) recovered loot at the Supreme Court.

The Commissioner for Information, Ehiedu Aniagwu, disclosed this on Tuesday while reacting to news of the repatriation of the funds.

“We would try to take advantage of the legal system to make the federal government correct the injustice they are about to visit on us as a state,” he said.

“If they are quite sure that the funds they are about to repatriate left Delta on account of those who have governed the state in the past, on what basis would they now take the money to another place?”

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