6 February 2004

Nigeria: Ibori Denies Money Laundering Allegations

Asaba — DELTA State Governor, Chief James Ibori, yesterday, denied any involvement in the alleged money laundering which was widely published recently in some magazines, saying that he was prepared to face the ICPC to defend himself if invited.

Asked to comment on the alleged report, Ibori told reporters in Asaba, yesterday, that "to the best of my knowledge, they (ICPC) have not confronted me with any allegation. I cannot speak of what I know nothing about", pointing out that "the problem is that Nigerians sometimes run into conclusions and work themselves into frenzy over nothing."

Continuing, he said "the ICPC was put in place by an Act of the National Assembly where members of the Delta State supported that law, if not it would not have been passed. That means every unit of this federation is in support of the Act. But there is a procedure for the ICPC to do their work. A petition to the ICPC, he observed, "is not a media affair, it is not a media matter. Of course, if the ICPC receives the petition, they are duty bound to investigate the petition, so as far as I am aware as I am sitting, I have not been informed of any petition against me or anyone in my government. If I receive such information (petition), I will address it adequately, but to respond to anything in the media will be speculative and not responsible of a man of my calibre and status", he stated.

On the demolition of illegal structures in the state, the governor maintained that there was no going back in the exercise. Although he expessed sympathy for those traders who were displaced but was quick to add that, "I can recall that two years in the last administration, the deputy governor in Warri and Asaba met with all those involved and we tried to consult with them in our usual way to be very sensitive in all the issues.

"Now after two years, we (government) have been on that subject matter of illegal structures so we have decided to intervene and make them to follow the planning of the cities especially in Warri and Asaba.

"Mine is to appeal to all those that are vehemently against this demolition to see reason with government. They have access to the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to make their case and they will be reviewed on a case by case basis", he stated.

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