It was a heroic welcome in the Ogahara hometown of James Ibori, former Delta state, on Saturday, following his return after nearly seven years in detention.
Ibori returned to the country around 4:30am on Saturday and went straight to the office of Department of State Services (DSS) as reported by The New Diplomat earlier.
He left the DSS headquarters in Abuja after holding a meeting with Lawal Daura, director-general of the service.
A mammoth crowd had converged on the Osubi Airport, near Warri to receive him, but some of them left when words went round that he was at the DSS headquarters.
It was later revealed that he had left Abuja, and would land at the Benin airport in neighbouring Edo state. Most of his supporters, including top politicians, relocated to Oghara.
A source at the Benin airport said Ibori arrived at the place in a chartered flight, and immediately embarked on the journey to Delta.
“Security was very tight. In fact his arrival took us unaware. Nobody could move close to him, as he was surrounded by his security aides,” the source said.
People lined up both sides of the road, singing and dancing. Different groups had their own style of celebration.
The atmosphere became charged when Ibori’s convoy entered the town. Youth had surrounded his private residence, and taken over every available space within.
It took a while for security operatives to be able to make way for him to alight from his car. Before moving in, Ibori acknowledged cheers from the crowd.