Respondents maintain that since the money was stolen from Delta, it should be returned to Delta. 

An online survey conducted by Pulse shows that a higher percentage of Nigerians with access to the internet, want monies stolen by former Delta State Governor James Ibori returned to the state rather than to the coffers of the federal government of Nigeria. 

The UK announced on March 9, 2021 that it will soon repatriate N2.4billion to Nigeria; being proceeds of Ibori loot stashed in the country.

The federal government of Nigeria immediately announced that the money will be deployed for the construction of the second Nigeria bridge, Abuja-Kano road and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. 

However, a high ranking Delta State government official had declared that the right thing to do was return the recovered loot to the state since the money was looted from state coffers.blob:

“Why should Delta State money be used in building Lagos-Ibadan expressway or Abuja-Kano road? Is the federal government saying it doesn’t know the origin of the money?” fumed Commissioner for Information in Delta State, Charles Aniagwu. President Muhammadu Buhari (Left) and Minister of Justice and AGF Abubakar Malami (Presidency)President Muhammadu Buhari (Left) and Minister of Justice and AGF Abubakar Malami (Presidency) 

Attorney General Abubakar Malami had countered this position, saying processes to recover the money were initiated by the federal government and not Delta State; and that one of the conditions given by the UK before the money was returned was that it should be tied to Nigeria’s ailing infrastructure. 

‘Our son is not a thief’

Around the time Ibori stole the money, the official line from the Delta State government was that their son was no thief. 

The ex-governor was also shielded from arrest and prosecution in Nigeria by Delta State before he fled to the UK where he was arrested, tried and convicted. 

After Ibori attempted to bribe then EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu with $15million in cash–a bribe Ribadu turned down–the Delta State government opted to permanently forfeit the $15million loot to the federal government after failing to cooperate with the EFCC to bring Ibori to justice. 

Nigeria is still set to recover an estimated N52billion in Ibori loot.

What the polls say

When Pulse asked its online audience if current and subsequent recovered Ibori loot should be returned to the federal government of Nigeria or to Delta State, 76.1% of Facebook respondents said the monies should be sent back to Delta State since they were stolen from there. 

23.9% of Facebook respondents disagreed however, positing that the monies belong to the federal government. 

On Instagram, 73% of respondents were in favour of returning the money to Delta, with 27% voting in the opposite direction.

On Twitter, 80% want the recovered Ibori loot returned to the Delta State government from whence it was stolen. Only 20% voted in favour of the federal government getting the money. 

Ibori, who governed oil-rich Delta from 1999 to 2007, pled guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering at London’s Southwark Crown Court in 2012 and was sentenced to 13 years behind bars.

After serving half of his sentence in pre- and post-trial detention, Ibori was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria, dictating who governs his state and senatorial district at every election cycle.

Source: Pulse Nigeria

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