A former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, who recently returned to Nigeria after serving a four and half years jail term in the UK for money laundering, has said he is not thief.
Speaking in his hometown of Oghara during a special thanksgiving service organised in his honour, Ibori added his biggest concern while serving a jail sentence in the UK was how his people were coping in his absence.
The service which started at about 10am at the First Bapstist Church in Oghara was attended by several traditional rulers across the state including the Ovie of Oghara, Ovie of Ughelli, Ovie of Evwreni among others.
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan; former Police Affairs Minister and his wife, Alaowie and Mrs Broderick Bozimo; Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo; Mr Ovuozourie Macaulay; Chief Solomon Fukekeme; Senator Patrick Osakwe and Mr Festus Ovie Agas, among others.
Ibori, speaking, said those behind his travails had the intention of keeping him away from his people.
“Today I have decided to speak for myself. I am not a thief, I cannot be a thief,” he said.
“Today is the day they say I should give testimony to God, for those who know me, you know that my entire life is a testimony itself and I have said it over and over again that my life is fashioned by God, directed by God, sealed, acknowledged, blessed by God and I believe that since the day I was born.
“Like the arch bishop said, when this whole commotion started, what was most painful to me was the pain and suffering that my people were going through.
“When I looked at how things were going, I discovered that they wanted to separate me from you people. They wanted me to go to the corner where I won’t be seen.
“It has nothing to do with me as a person because for some reasons like I said to you, I drew my strength from God and somehow, I knew that God would stand by me. I knew that this day would come. I am indeed very pleased that I can now stand before you and look at your faces, faces that I have missed and those of you who have indeed suffered the pains of my absence.”