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Ex Rivers Gov, Odili, sues Immigration over passport seizure

He’s on EFCC Watch List, Immigration tells court
Court fixes Sept. 28 for hearing

Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, has been placed on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged economic issue, the Nigerian Immigration Service told the Federal High Court sitting Abuja yesterday.

The former governor had dragged the Nigeria Immigration Service and its Comptroller General before the Court challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja for undisclosed reasons. In the fundamental rights enforcement suit, he claimed that his international passport with numbers B50031305 was seized from him on June 20, 2021, by operatives of the Immigration Service and has since been withheld. In an 8-paragraph affidavit he personally deposed to, the former governor averred that the passport was seized from him upon his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom where he had gone for his medicals. Odili further averred that on his arrival, his traveling documents were checked and given back to him and that while waiting for his luggage, an Immigration official demanded for the passport on claim of routine check which he complied with but that the document has since been seized.

He claimed to be a senior citizen of Nigeria, law abiding and had not done anything to warrant the seizure of his passport. Odili prayed the trial judge, Justice A. R Mohammed, to compel the two respondents to release the passport to him and order of perpetual injunction against the respondents from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or interfering with his fundamental right to freedom of movement. The former governor also demanded a written apology for the embarrassment caused him by the Immigration Service.

However, in a counter affidavit by the Service, it was submitted that Odili’s passport was seized because he is on the watch list of the EFCC. The affidavit, deposed to by one Okwe Ernest of the Legal Department of the Immigration Service averred that Odili was watch listed at the request of the EFCC. The Immigration Service claimed that the former governor was not entitled to the request presented before the court and that his suit should be dismissed for being premature. When the matter came up on Wednesday, counsel to the Immigration Service, Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, informed Justice Mohammed that he had just filed a counter affidavit to oppose the suit of the former governor and served the same on him as required by law. Justice Mohammed subsequently fixed September 28 to hear the matter.

 

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