James Onanefe Ibori (born 4 August 1959) is a Nigerian politician who was Governor of Delta State in Nigeria from 29 May 1999[1] to 29 May 2007.[2] An ethnic Urhobo by descent, Ibori is a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). He is a leader in the Niger Delta region and a national figure in Nigeria. In 2012, Ibori was sentenced to 13 years in prison for money laundering.[3][4]

James Onanefe Ibori
2nd Governor of Delta State
In office
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
DeputyBenjamin Elue
Preceded byWalter Feghabo
Succeeded byEmmanuel Uduaghan
Personal details
Born (1959-08-04) 4 August 1959 (age 63)
Oghara, Delta State, Nigeria
Alma materUniversity of Benin, Nigeria

Early lifeEdit

Born to the family of late Chief Ukavbe Ibori and Mrs. Comfort Oji Ibori of Otefe in Oghara clan, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, he attended Baptist High School, Oghareki, now Oghareki Grammar School, before proceeding to the University of Benin where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Statistics.[5] Ibori moved to London, England in the 1980s where he married his wife, Theresa. He worked as a cashier at Wickes DIY store in Ruislip, Middlesex.[citation needed]

Returning to Nigeria, between 1994 and 1997 he served as a consultant to the Federal Government of President Sani Abacha, in the areas of public policy formulation and implementation. In 1999,He Contested for Governor of Delta State.[6]

Political careerEdit

Ibori's political career began in 1990 when he joined the National Republican Convention (NRC). In 1991, he was nominated to contest for the Federal House of Representatives seat, to represent Ethiope Federal Constituency. He lost the election to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate.

When the Sani Abacha Transition Programme kicked off, he joined the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). The GDM clinched a good number of local, state and federal positions, including one of the three senatorial seats in the state. The transition programme was abruptly terminated with the death of Abacha. Ibori then with the leaders of other defunct political groups in Delta State, formed the Delta National Congress (DNC).

The DNC later merged with many others of like ideas to birth the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was on the platform of the PDP that he contested and won the January 9, 1999 Delta State gubernatorial election.

Proposed as governor of Delta State, under Nigerian law Ibori had to swear that he had no previous convictions. Using the false birth certificate and passport that he had used for the mortgage application in London, he passed the tests falsely, and was elected to become the governor from 1999.[6] In 2003, he was re-elected as governor for another four-year term.

At the PDP's ruling party's pre-election convention in 2006, Ibori was present to lift up the hand of the victorious Umaru Yar'Adua. After Yar'Adua was selected as their presidential candidate, Ibori was accused of bank-rolling Yar'Adua's 2007 campaign, and promised a Vice-Presidential position in return. But after Yar'Adua died in office, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan succeeded Yar'Adua, an avowed political opponent of Ibori.[6]

Corruption chargesEdit

United Kingdom chargesEdit

Ibori's corruption charges started with filling of petitions by his kinsmen under the auspices of Delta State Elders and Stateholders Forum influenced by the foremost Ijaw leader, Chief E. K. Clark, OFR, CON who was also the former Minister of Information. The petition was sent to Nuhu Ribadu, the head of Nigeria's financial crimes agencies who initially failed to act on the petition which made the Forum, who, with other activists, revealed Ibori's crimes and made spirited efforts to bring Ibori and EFCC before court to compel Ibori's prosecution with the aid of their lawyer Kayode Ajulo.

In 2007, the Metropolitan Police raided the London offices of barrister Bhadresh Gohil. Hidden in a wall behind a fireplace, they found computer hard drives containing details of a myriad off-shore companies, run for Ibori by Gohil, fiduciary agent Daniel Benedict McCann, and corporate financier Lambertus De Boer. All of these men were later jailed for a total of 30 years.[citation needed]

As a result of these corruption allegations, the United Kingdom courts froze Ibori's assets, valued at about £17 million ($35 million), in early August 2007.[7] His wife, Nkoyo, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London on 1 November 2007, in connection with the probe of her husband's assets, particularly in the United Kingdom.[8] She was released after being questioned. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Ibori denied allegations against him claiming they were politically motivated. He accused Nuhu Ribadu and the UK Courts of playing politics.[9]

First set of Nigerian chargesEdit

On December 12, 2007, Ibori was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Kwara State Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.[10] The charges against him include theft of public funds, abuse of office, and money laundering. These corruption charges brought against Ibori by the government of former President Obasanjo are among many allegations by anticorruption czar Nuhu Ribadu against former officials of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. Ribadu additionally alleged that Ibori attempted to bribe him to drop the charges with a cash gift of $15 million, which Ribadu immediately lodged in the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN. The cash remains in the CBN as an exhibit.[11]

On December 17, 2009, A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, discharged and acquitted Ibori of all 170 charges of corruption brought against him by EFCC.[12] The EFCC filed a notice of appeal against the December 17, 2009 judgement, and began a new round of investigations on the former governor following a petition by members of the Delta State Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum, which was made available to the public in March 2010.[13]

Second set of Nigerian chargesEdit

In April 2010, about three months after the take over of government by former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ibori's case file was reopened.[citation needed] A new allegation that he embezzled N40 billion ($266 million) was pressed against him. Attempts to arrest him were unsuccessful. It was reported that he fled from Abuja to Lagos and then to the creeks of Oghara, his homeland in the Niger Delta.[citation needed] It was reported that he has been guarded by armed militias and they once had a shoot out with government security forces.[citation needed] He claimed that the charges were frivolous and that he was a victim of political persecution.[14][15]

In April 2010, Ibori fled Nigeria, prompting the EFCC to request the assistance of Interpol.[16][17] On 12 July 2010 the Governor of the CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido revealed that Ibori had used Delta State as collateral for N40 billion loan when he was governor.[18]

Arrest in Dubai, extradition to UKEdit

On 13 May 2010, Ibori was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates under Interpol arrest warrants, issued from United Kingdom courts and enacted by the Metropolitan Police.[19][20][21] Ibori was granted bail pending an extradition hearing.[22][23][24] A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the United Kingdom would "seek Mr Ibori's extradition".[25]

The Nigerian government and the United Kingdom then agreed to work together on Ibori's extradition to the United Kingdom.[26][27] even as his movement became restricted by the Dubai authority.[28] Punch Newspaper however reported on 27 May 2010, that Ibori was seeking political asylum in Dubai.[29][30]

Ibori's case and extradition became one of the longest, most complex and expensive operations mounted by Scotland Yard in recent years. Prosecutors alleged that companies owned by Ibori and his family were beneficiaries from the sale of state assets, including shares in a mobile telephone operator, as well as crude oil deliveries.[31] The EFCC confirmed on Thursday June 10, 2010, that Ibori was in custody awaiting extradition to the UK.[32]

Conviction of AssociatesEdit

In London, where Ibori is being sought in the case of money laundering, the authority continued with the prosecution of his associates who were in the dock for helping Ibori to launder money.

On 1st and 2 June 2010, UK juries found James Ibori's sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori[33] and his associate, Udoamaka Okoronkwo, guilty on counts of money laundering, in a verdict delivered at the Southwark Crown Court, London.[34] Mr. James Ibori, via his media aide released a statement questioning the validity of the verdict which he claimed absolved the two other women, Ms Okoronkwo and Adebimpe Pogoson who were charged alongside his sister.[35] The jury's verdict of 2 June 2010 however returned a guilty decision against Okoronkwo as well.[36] Christine Ibie-Ibori and Udoamaka Okoronkwo were each sentenced to 5 years in prison on Monday 7 June 2010 by the UK court even as the defense counsel pleaded for mercy that the convicts were merely manipulated by James Ibori.[37]


On 27 February 2012, accused of stealing US$250 million from the Nigerian public purse, Ibori pleaded guilty to ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court, London.[38]

Following the guilty plea entered by Ibori, the EFCC brought before an Appeal Court the 6 year old ruling of a Federal High Court in Asaba which acquitted Ibori in 2009.[39] They EFCC sought the court to set aside the ruling of the lower court on the grounds that the presiding judge, Justice Awokulehin, erred in law while delivering his judgement. A three-man panel of justices at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal on May 15, 2014 ruled that the ex- governor has a case to answer. With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face further trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Ibori was sentenced to 13 years by Southwark Crown Court for his crimes.[3][4] Among possessions confiscated were:[3]

After the sentencing hearing, Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service central fraud group, said it would bid to confiscate the assets Ibori had acquired his riches "at the expense of some of the poorest people in the world".[3]


James Ibori was released from prison in December 2016 after a court order. He served 4 years of the 13 years to which he was sentenced.[40]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "James Manager and James Ibori: The untold Story". Vanguard News. 24 July 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  2. ^ "James Manager and James Ibori: The untold Story". Vanguard News. 24 July 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "Former Nigeria governor James Ibori jailed for 13 years". BBC News. 17 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b Ibori gets 13 years Archived April 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Constitution Amendment Must Allow Popular Will, Says Eyinne", AllAfrica.com, AllAfrica Global Media, 24 February 2006
  6. ^ a b c "James Ibori The Man of the People". BBC News. 27 February 2012.
  7. ^ Shirbon, Estelle (6 August 2007). "Britain freezes assets of former governor". Reuters (IOL). Independent News & Media. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Airport 'arrest' for Nigeria wife". BBC News. BBC. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Breaking News Videos, Story Video and Show Clips - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Ige, Ise-Oluwa; Emmanuel Ulayi (2007-12-12). "Ibori arrested, faces 103-count charge". Vanguard Online (Vanguard Media)". Vanguard News. Vanguard Media. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Ibori's Goose and Ribadu's Trumpet". Saharareporters.com. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  12. ^ [1] Archived August 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Ibori faces new investigation". Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Security forces set for showdown". Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  15. ^ "Nigeria attack halts Ibori arrest". BBC News. 21 April 2010.
  16. ^ "The Punch:: Ibori: EFCC may seek Interpol's help". archive.is. 2 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Ibori still in Nigeria intelligence reports". Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  18. ^ "1XBET Nigeria - 1XBET 2021 - 󾟛 Best betting site in Nigeria for Bets". Retrieved 12 July 2010.[dead link]
  19. ^ "The Punch:: Ibori arrested in Dubai- Report". archive.is. 22 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010.
  20. ^ "FCT New Transport Policy: Mr. President, Can You Please Fire Bala Mohammed?". huhuonline. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Ibori arraigned in Dubai - Vanguard News". Vanguardngr.com. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  22. ^ "UK Police Confirm Ibori's Arrest". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  23. ^ "The Punch:: Ibori arraigned in Dubai, granted bail". Archived from the original on 2 October 2011.
  24. ^ "Ibori Granted Bail, Plans Escape from Dubai". Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  25. ^ McElroy, Damien (14 May 2010). "Nigerian politician faces extradition to Britain on money laundering charges". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  26. ^ "Nigeria, UK commence Ibori's extradition to UK - Vanguard News". Vanguardngr.com. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  27. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100517092852/http://thenationonlineng.net/web2/articles/46531/1/Ibori-has-questions-to-answer-over-35m-assets--Met-police/Page1.html. Archived from the original on 17 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ "Ibori's movement restricted in Dubai •Extradition case begins Monday". Archived from the original on 20 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  29. ^ "The Punch:: Ibori seeks political asylum in Dubai". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010.
  30. ^ "1XBET Nigeria - 1XBET 2021 - 󾟛 Best betting site in Nigeria for Bets". Retrieved 5 June 2010.[dead link]
  31. ^ McElroy, Damien (14 May 2010). "Nigerian politician faces extradition to Britain on money laundering charges". Telegraph. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Dubai revokes Ibori's bail". Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  33. ^ "UK court convicts Ibori's sister". Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  34. ^ "Jun0210 Ibori Associate BRF". Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  35. ^ "London court convicts Ibori's sister •Ex-Delta gov rejects verdict". Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  36. ^ "The Punch:: UK Court indicts another Ibori's associate". archive.is. 2 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011.
  37. ^ "UK Court Climax: James Ibori's Sister, Mistress, Get Five Years in Prison!". Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  38. ^ http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_NIGERIA_IBORI?SITE=NDBIS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-02-27-14-47-07. Retrieved 2 March 2012. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  39. ^ RONALD MUTUM (29 February 2012). "Nigeria: EFCC Awaits Appeal Court Date On Ibori's 170 Count Charges". All Africa.
  40. ^ "James Ibori released from London Prison - Reports - Premium Times Nigeria". 21 December 2016.