Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has accused the Federal Government of initially frustrating the trial of former Governor, James Ibori, in the United Kingdom.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said this on Sunday in a statement titled, ‘How FG Frustrated Ibori’s Trial in the UK.’
Falana narrated how the Federal Government through its Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, challenged the investigation of Ibori in the United Kingdom in 2009.
The lawyer said he finds it funny that the same government could claim ownership of the over £4.2m (N2.2bn) being repatriated.
He said, “It is on record that the Federal Government openly opposed the trial of Chief Ibori in the United Kingdom. In fact, in utter breach of the provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Nigeria and the United Kingdom the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) rejected the request to make relevant documents available for the trial in the UK on the ground of sovereignty.
“In particular, Chief Aondoakaa refused to entertain the request of the UK Metropolitan Police and made under bilateral mutual assistance to Nigeria on the grounds that the request was not made by the Home Office.”
Falana argued that Delta State Government should not be denied the billions recovered from its former Governor, just because the state government once said Ibori never stole, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari, has consistently said former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, never stole and yet he uses Abacha’s recovered loot to implement projects.
“No doubt, the former Delta State Government was irresponsible to have denied that Chief Ibori looted the treasury of the state at the material time. But such denial cannot be a justification for the confiscation of the Ibori loot of over £100m that is expected to be repatriated to Nigeria by the British Government.
“After all, before his assumption of office as President in May 2015, General Muhammadu Buhari had repeatedly maintained that the late General Sani Abacha did not steal a dime from the account of the Federal Government.
“But the Federal Government under the President’s watch has continued to recover the remaining Abacha loot and no one has suggested that such recovered loot be paid to the account of the United Nations or African Union on moral grounds,” he said.