The Ibori Clan: Their Game Plan

Late Wednesday afternoon on October 19th, we were working the phones as we put the finishing touches to our story, “Ibori in Oil Deals?” It came out the following day. During one of our numerous conversations with sources at the Delta State Governor’s office, we were told that the Nigerian media would not pick up any stories on Ibori that are perceived to be negative. A few days after our story on Gov. Ibori was published, one of the sources from his office called to ask us how we were able to convince the Nigerian Tribune to carry the story. We did not know that the Tribune had carried the story and we were even more surprised at the Ibori camp’s confidence that the Nigerian press would not pick up our story. “Well, let’s put it this way, even journalists know on what side their bread is buttered and lbori is the gift that always gives,” stated our source.

After talking to a few people working with major Nigerian newspapers, we

went back to confront the source with our findings that there is no evidence

available to us that shows Ibori paying editors to ‘kill’ our story on him.

“Do you think journalists are better than other Nigerians? You must be naïve

to think they were not paid by Ibori to kill the story. I know for a fact

that at least ten million Naira exchanged hands on Thursday night, after

your story came out. You guys talk about corruption, but when it concerns

journalists you look the other way. Is it by accident that Ibori and Atiku

are friends? Don’t you see how the Nigerian media treat these two?” he asked

in anger. The truth is that we have yet to find any evidence of journalists

and editors being bribed to ‘kill’ our stories and when find such

information, we will publish them. Yes, the Iboris keep giving gifts.

Since we published the last story on Ibori, more information has come to

light concerning the Ibori family, Whitehill Corp., and Okey Ilo. Within

hours of publishing the Ibori story, we got documents that suggested that

Haleway Properties, a company registered in Gibralter, is owned by Gov.

James and Tessi Ibori. The documents we have indicate that on 4th December

2001, Tessi Ibori registered Haleway Trading Company. The registration

number of the company is 04334204. The registered office of the company is

1st floor, Alpine House, Unit 2, Honeypot Lane, London NW9 9RX. On the 31st

August of last year, the company was dissolved. Our investigation into the

Ibori affair has shed more light on Tessi Ibori’s partner in Whitehill

Corp., Okey Ilo. Sources close to Tessi Ibori told that

Okey and Tessi’s friendship has been going on for a while. Okey grew up in

Enugu and graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Upon graduation

he left the shores of Nigeria for Europe. He and Tessi may have met in

London, but from all indications their relationship has been on-going as the

Delta State First Lady is said to have paid for the renovation of Okey Ilo’s

family home in Enugu.

Hence, it came as no surprise to some people in the Delta Government House

that Tessi’s name showed up in Okey Ilo’s company. Our sources said that

Tessi’s Personal Assistant, who is very much in the know of the Tessi-Okey

relationship, has sometimes tried to distract some ‘nosey’ staffers at the

Government House. Shortly before we went to press, Ebo, Tessi Ibori’s

personal assistant called us. She denied knowing Okey Ilo. However, their

business deals in Warri, Asaba, London, and other places have not escaped

the attention of some Government House insiders in Asaba. Gov. James Ibori

may not be unaware of the Okey Ilo-Tessi relationship. A source, who should

know, said this to us: “James Ibori has a lot of irons in the fire hence he

may not have time to look into Tessi’s issues, if you know what I mean. The

house and Bentley you guys published is Tessi Ibori’s London home. There is

another home in West London, which was bought in 2002 for nine hundred

thousand pounds (£900,000.00). That is where Ibori’s other wife lives and if

you guys gain access to the garage you will find a black 2002 Mercedes S

500.” We are still working to confirm this information.

Tessi Nkoyo Ibori is a woman who loves the limelight. Her web site is a

testimony to her love of attention and public acclaim. On her web site are

pictures of her philanthropy and love for sports. Her sports involvement

includes the Nkoyo Ibori Table Tennis championship, Nkoyo Ibori under 20

National Sports championship, and Nkoyo Ibori Power Lifting championship.

She also has the Delta Manna Foundation, which claims to work with kids and

the less privileged members of Delta State. made several

attempts to get Tessi Ibori’s reaction to this story. We left several

telephone messages at her office. An unsigned email from her office directed to write an application to interview Tessi Ibori. We were

also directed to state in our application th

e purpose of the interview and

then wait for processing.

Another Ibori woman that has come to our attention is Christie Omatie

Ibori-Ibie, elder sister of Gov. James Ibori. Christie lives in London.

There are suggestions that she is separated from her husband. But Christie,

in a chat with said she is not separated from her husband.

Christie said her husband; a retired federal permanent secretary has always

lived in Nigeria for over twenty years while she has lived in London. There

were reports that she lived in a government allotted flat in Kilburn until

her brother became the Governor of Delta State. She denies it. “What are you

talking about? I lived in a big 7-bedroom house in Kilburn. The house is

owned by my husband and it is now on rent. What qualifies me for a council

flat in London?” she fumed. Although she refused to confirm it, Christie now

lives in a house that cost about four hundred and eighty thousand pounds

(£480,000.00). She has never held a job in London and describes herself as a

“housewife, not a contractor.” She tried to prevail on not

to include her name in this report. “I am hiding myself in this country. I

don’t want my name in the press. I’m not in government; please don’t put my

name in your report. I like my privacy and quiet life.” Christie Omatie

Ibori-Ibie’s house is said to be a Mecca of sorts for Delta State government

officials visiting London. They are expected to pay homage to her. And

Christie’s relationship with the Delta State Commissioner of Sports has

caused some concern in government circles. Christie says there is nothing

special about her relationship with the Commissioner, “He works in my

brother’s government and my relationship with Solomon is the same with other

Delta Government officials.”

A source, very close to Gov. James Ibori, told, “Among the

governors from Niger Delta, Ibori did more in terms of development than any

other, but he has enriched himself and some of his friends, like Ighoyota

Amori.” According to the source, “Amori became so powerful to the point of

influencing domestic decisions in Ibori’s life.” However, in 2003, Ibori

tried to break with Amori. To achieve this he used people like Faith Igue,

one of his Special Advisers to create some divisions in Asaba. Ighoyota

Amori is the past Commissioner for Education in Delta State. Currently, he

is the Political Adviser to Gov. Ibori. Amori is listed as a director of

TONAM Ltd. He gave his address in the company documents as 17, Sanderling

Court, Abinger Grove, SE 8 5TE. That address is believed to be a Council

flat. He recently acquired a flat in the highbrow St. John’s Wood. His

current address in London is 64 Queens Grove, London, NW 8 6 ER. Amori was

recently convicted by the Code of Conduct Bureau and banned from holding

public office for ten years. He was also directed to reimburse the Delta

State Government his salary from the time he started serving in the Delta

Government. Amori had refused to declare his assets when he became a public

official. Using convoluted reasoning, Amori claimed that he was not a public

official when he served in the Ibori government. What was he afraid of? The

code of conduct verdict may have dampened his governorship ambition.

Another influential member of the Ibori clan is James’ half-brother, Emma

Uduarhan. Although Ibori is Urhobo, Emma is Itsekiri. He is the current

Secretary to Delta State Government. Ibori’s game plan is to install his

half-brother as the next Governor of Delta State. This will satisfy the

clamor for power shift, as well as ensure that Ibori’s interests are

protected. On the other hand, Faith Igue wants to be the chairman of the

Peoples Democratic Party in Delta State. There has been some resistance to

the Ibori game plan, although we were told that the Ibori political

machinery would prevail.

Additional reports by Eddy W.

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Anonymous January 3, 2006 - 1:15 pm

Cool. u must have good investigators.

Anonymous November 5, 2005 - 1:28 pm

excellent addition ibori should explain how he managed to gain controlling stake in a south african oil refinery

Anonymous November 5, 2005 - 12:46 pm

Excellent write-up, with so many Nigerian immigrant professionals migrating to the shores of the U.K., U.S. and Canada, one would find it hard to beleive that poverty, crime, non-infrastructure, illiteracy and mountainous medical problems are so pervaisive in Nigeria or have I been grously misled.

jasmine November 5, 2005 - 2:50 am

This story goes to show what these people fighting for power are really up. Please keep informing us so that the whole world will know how rich Nigeria is but only ends up in a cirlce of vultures.

Anonymous November 4, 2005 - 4:03 pm

Execellent investigative journalism…

Anonymous November 4, 2005 - 3:24 pm

Keep ranting its what frustrated people do.Just for the record i work in a leading investment bank in the Uk and without a doubt make ten times more than what your master hands down to u,i guarantee you would be saying Sir to me very soon.i take it u r an Ibori apologist when your bread winner is thrown into the slamour we wuld all see were u wuld be….Karma wuld catch up with u soon and very soon my friend

Anonymous November 3, 2005 - 1:42 pm

oh Mr. Omowe..i just didnt know why the call was urgent…as if anyone cares…u see, u need to see beyond the populism driving this internet craze of Nigerians this day..,.very soon Elendu and Sowore will become special adviser while u still dey sign petition! nonsense

Anonymous November 3, 2005 - 10:10 am

havent you ever used a weblog before or are you that ignorant.sign up means come to the site and support calls for the story to be run in every single Nigerian daily.

Anonymous November 2, 2005 - 1:33 pm

sign up for what

Anonymous November 1, 2005 - 5:28 pm

Excellent story……pls every single nigerian sign up here to ensure this story is run on the front page of every single nigerian paper…..The story must not be killed….its a shame the story was broken before the plane crash……Sign up people sign up!!!!!!!!!


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