A High Court in London has awarded James Ibori, former Delta State governor, a nominal £1 (about N400) as damages over his claim of unlawful detention by Amber Rudd, British Home Secretary.
Cheema-Grubb, the judge, agreed that between December 20 and 21 last year, Ibori, who spent years in UK jail for money laundering, was unlawfully held for one day, 18 hours and 10 minutes.
Ibori had claimed £4,000 in damages.
She said the Home Secretary “failed to have regard to her limits to detain” as attempts were made to claw back millions from him.
But in rejecting Ibori’s bid for thousands in compensation, the judge ruled: “There is no compensatory loss to Mr Ibori and I fix nominal damages at £1.”
In a statement on Monday, Tony Eluemunor, media aide to Ibori, said the former Delta State governor defeated the British Secretary of State for Home Department in an unlawful detention suit.
He added that the court had ordered that his principal be compensated for malicious detention but that the amount had not been fixed.
“Chief James Ibori’s winning streak in London courts continued on Monday, May 22, 2017, as he won an important legal victory against the British Secretary of State for the Home Department. The costs the Home Department will have to pay to him, as ordered by the court, will be determined later,” he said.
“The victory came when Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb DBE of Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, agreed with the submissions of Ibori’s counsel, Ian Macdonald, QC and Ivan Krolick, that though Ibori was due for release, he was still maliciously detained on the 20th and 21st December 2016.
“On that 21st December 2016, Ibori’s application for urgent consideration against the detention was heard before a high court judge who ordered Ibori’s immediate release.
“That day, the judge also granted Ibori permission to file claims against the Secretary of State of British Home Department, who was required to file detailed grounds of resistance to the claim and ordered that a substantive hearing should be listed by January 31, 2017 unless the defendant issued directions for the claimant’s removal by 4pm on 6th January 2017.
“Ibori was eventually released in the evening of December 21, 2016, after a day and some 18 hours of immigration detention (albeit held in prison),” he added.
He said Ibori’s solicitors wrote to the Home Department seeking its acquiescence to his voluntary departure to Nigeria in December, but that it was not granted.
Ibori returned to the country in February to a tumultuous welcome in his country home after spending about five years in jail for fraud.
It was reported that he was deported, but his aide insists he left the UK by his own will.