SSS JOINS EFCC, POLICE IN MANHUNT FOR IBORI

By NBF NEWS
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Embattled former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori

The Presidency has directed the State Security Service to join forces with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to arrest the embattled former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.

Findings by our correspondent on Thursday showed that a special team from the SSS headquarters in Abuja and police detectives have already been deployed in Delta State in compliance with the order.

A combined team of policemen and the EFCC operatives had on Tuesday stormed Oghara, Delta State to arrest Ibori, but were resisted by armed youths most of whom were believed to be militants.

Ibori consequently went underground with the police and the anti-graft agency vowing that he would be arrested.

It was learnt on Thursday that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, and the EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, briefed Acting President Goodluck Jonathan on the failed operation on Tuesday.

Reliable sources in the EFCC told our correspondent that the decision to draft the SSS into the manhunt for the ex-governor was taken after the meeting on Wednesday.

It was gathered that the SSS was specifically directed to comb the nooks and crannies of Delta State with a view to determining Ibori's whereabouts.

Our source said the SSS was to report back to the Police and the EFCC on its findings. He, however, did not say when the SSS will make its findings known to the two bodies.

The source said, 'The SSS has been directed by the Presidency to join in the efforts by the EFCC and police to arrest a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori.

'The mandate of the SSS is to just locate and identify his (Ibori) specific hidden place with a view to determining the level of force to be deployed by the police and the EFCC to arrest him.

'This decision is a fallout of the meeting the Acting President held with our chairman (Waziri) and the IG (Onovo) on Wednesday night in Abuja. Already, the SSS has swung into action as its men were reported to have arrived in Delta State for the operation.'

Our correspondent also learnt on Thursday that Onovo had deployed a special team of detectives from the Louis Edet Police Headquarters, Abuja, in Delta State, to fish out the embattled former governor.

Police sources in Delta State Police Command said on Thursday that the IG directed the leader of the team, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to treat the assignment with dispatch and seriousness.

Specifically, the team was asked to focus on the upland and riverside axis of the state in the manhunt for the former governor.

Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who said Onovo had put fresh strategies in place to arrest the former governor, declined to volunteer the details when our correspondent contacted him on Thursday.

Ojukwu said it would be counter-productive to make details of the operations public.

He said, 'We (police) are still on his (Ibori) trail in many directions to make him (Ibori) answer to the law. But we are not prepared to make our strategies and operations available to the public.

'But I can tell you that we (police) are making efforts to get him (Ibori).'

The EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, also told our correspondent on Thursday that all security agencies were collaborating to arrest Ibori.

Asked to comment specifically on the report that Jonathan had ordered the SSS to join the search for Ibori, Babafemi replied, 'All the security agencies are working in synergy and the search for him (Ibori) continues.'

Ibori's latest travails stemmed from a petition to the EFCC by a group, Delta State Leaders, Elders and Stakeholders Forum, led by a former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark.

The DSLESF alleged that Ibori sold millions of shares belonging to the Delta State Government and used the proceed to purchase an American oil servicing firm, Wilbros, during his tenure as governor between 1999 and 2007.