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James Ibori Released from Prison

Former Delta state governor, James Onanefe Ibori has been released from prison, despite attempts by the United Kingdom’s home secretary to detain him in prison. He was due for release on Tuesday, having agreed to be deported after serving half of his 13-year sentence.

But it has now emerged that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd did not intend to deport Ibori to Nigeria until he handed over £18m of “proceeds of crime”.

According to the BBC, a High Court judge said attempts to detain him were “quite extraordinary”.

Ordering Ibori to be immediately freed from prison, Mrs Justice May said: “You don’t hold someone just because it is convenient to do so and without plans to deport them.”

A Home Office application that Ibori be electronically tagged and subject to strict curfew conditions was also rejected after the judge accepted arguments that the home secretary was attempting to misuse her immigration and deportation powers.

Ibori was jailed for fraud totaling nearly £50m in April 2012. He was arrested in Dubai in 2010 and extradited to the UK – where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.

Ancient Asaba town and its environs were literally paralysed on Wednesday in jubilation, following news of his release.  According to reports, at various Quarters’ residents, Asaba youths rolled out their drums to celebrate the man they described as “Odidigborigbo.”

Security agents and the popular Ogbeogonogo Market Women were not left out in the jubilation.

Ibori’s former senior political adviser, Chief Ighoyota Amori, a few months ago at the home town of the former governor, in Oghara, Delta state had disclosed that Ibori was going to spend Christmas with his kinsmen in Oghara.

But Sunny Areh, an ex-media aide of the former Governor, has explained why his boss will not return to Nigeria any time soon. Although most of his associates, who expected his release on December 20 are expecting his return to his Oghara home before Christmas, Areh said it would not be possible.

He told our correspondent that “His travel documents must have expired by now. He needs time to renew the documents and perfect his plan to return back home. So it’s going to take sometime before his coming to Nigeria,”

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