From Ben Dunno, Warri
Media aide of just-released former Delta State governor from a London prison, Tony Eluemunor has said James Ibori was not under any restriction in the United Kingdom and does not have to report to the police.
Ibori was released on Wednesday, after serving a jail sentence in London.
However, a few hours after his release, reports said the former governor was put under house arrest.
In a statement yesterday, Eluemunor said Ibori was not under any form of police surveillance.
“Chief Ibori was not placed under any police restrictions and does not have to report to the police at all.
“Even a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report of Wednesday, entitled: ‘Nigerian ex-Governor James Ibori released from UK jail’ stated that much. On Wednesday, the home office’s barrister said the government was concerned that Ibori might ‘frustrate confiscation proceedings’ and wanted him kept in jail or subject to strict controls on his movement.
“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.”
Eluemunor added: “The need to make a clarification arose from the conflicting reports in several media organisations over the terms guiding his release.”
A mischievous online publication misled many Nigerians into believing that Ibori would wear an ankle tag that would beam his whereabouts to the police and also report weekly to the police. But from the quoted BBC report, no such order ever came from the court but from some corrupt and corrupting minds,” he said.
“In fact, the BBC, quoting the Judge, Her Honour, Mrs Justice Juliet May, Queen’s Counsel, said: ‘The position of the secretary of state, as very candidly set out by M. Birdling (representing the home secretary), is that she accepts that there is an argument that she has no power to detain him’.
“I have decided that the balance of convenience falls heavily in favour of his (Ibori’s) immediate release. I am not prepared to impose conditions involving tagging or curfews.”