[JURIST] The Dubai Court of First Instance [official website] has ruled that a former Nigerian Delta state [official website] governor can be extradited to the UK to face charges of money laundering, fraud and embezzlement. James Ibori was arrested [BBC report] in the United Arab Emirates by INTERPOL [official website] in May. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) [official website] accused Ibori of stealing Delta state funds [CP report] worth $292 million during his time in office. These funds were allegedly filtered through banks in the UK, which led the UK Metropolitan Police [official website] to issue a warrant for his arrest [NEXT report]. Ibori has appealed the decision to Dubai’s Civil Court of Appeal.
Ibori is not the first Nigerian state governor to be accused of misappropriating state funds. In December 2007, Ayodele Fayose, former governor of the state of Ekiti [official website], was arraigned on corruption charges [JURIST report] stemming from an accusation that he embezzled 1.2 billion naira (USD $7.8 million) from the state. Fayose surrendered to the EFCC after going into hiding following his 2006 impeachment. At that time, the EFCC announced it was currently investigating 15 former state governors for alleged corruption and indicated in October 2007 that at least six would be charged [JURIST report]. Also in 2007, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] finding that corruption and violence permeating the Nigerian government had reached crisis levels, threatening Nigerian democracy.