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Nigeria: Ibori’s bid to stop arrest fails

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An attempt by former Delta State Governor James Ibori Monday, to stop  the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting him failed as the Federal High Court, Asaba, refused to give such an order

Mr Justice Ibrahim Buba held that “it is premature” for Ibori to bring up the case.

Ibori went to court after he was declared wanted by EFCC on April 10, praying that the anti-graft agency be restrained from arresting and trying him for an offence for which he had been acquitted.

Justice Buba held that the court lacks the power to stop a statutory agency from arresting anybody in connection with a criminal act.

According to him, the court’s intervention would only be necessary where such a body acted ultra vires.

The EFCC, he said, did not violate any law by inviting Ibori.

Justice Buba said: “It is only after EFCC has stated the reason why it declared Ibori wanted that he can be in a position to claim that he was being invited on old charges or not. But as EFCC has not stated why he was needed, Ibori cannot make such claims. Until a baby is born, you cannot tell whether the child will be a boy or a girl.”

But Justice Buba disagreed with the EFCC that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.

EFCC had argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Ibori’s Media Assistant, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, said it would be wrong for EFCC to think that it has won ‘a great victory’, because this is not only obviously a pyrrhic victory, but it has come at a great price to EFCC.

He said it was clear EFCC disobeyed all known norms of investigation by declaring Ibori wanted, and failed to specify why it took that step.

Eluemunor said the judgment has given the lie to newspaper speculations that Ibori was wanted to account for Delta State shares in Oceanic Bank

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Ibori, he said, was not crying wolf when he accused EFCC of persecution and not prosecution because EFCC failed to state in court why he was declared wanted.