Why We Have Prevented Ex-Rivers Governor, Odili From Travelling Out Since June 2021—Nigerian Immigration Service

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A former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili has been placed on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged involvement in fraud.

This was disclosed by the Nigeria Immigration Service, in a counter-affidavit, it filed before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, Sun reports. 

The affidavit was a response by the NIS to the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against the service by the former governor.

In the suit, Odili, a medical doctor and two-term governor of Rivers State between 1999 and 2007 challenged the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, by the personnel of the service.

Apart from being a former governor, Odili is also the husband of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. 

In the suit brought against Nigeria Immigration Service and its Comptroller General, he claimed that his passport was seized from him on June 20, 2021, by operatives of the Immigration Service and has since been withheld.

In an eight-paragraph affidavit to which he deposed, the former governor claimed that the passport was seized from him upon his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom where he had gone for his medicals.

Odili described himself as a law-abiding senior citizen of Nigeria who had done nothing to warrant such treatment.

He prayed Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to compel the EFCC and the immigration service to release the passport to him and give an order preventing them 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.

However, in a counter-affidavit by the Immigration Service, it was stated that Odili's passport was seized because he is on the watch list of the EFCC.

The affidavit was deposed to by one Okwe Ernest of the Legal Department of the Immigration Service.

The Immigration Service claimed the former governor was not entitled to the request presented before the court and that his suit should be dismissed for being premature.

He said the action of the Immigration service was a result of collaborations between government security agencies and that the respondents were only carrying out their statutory functions.

The affidavit said since Odili's passport was seized, he had never asked for it nor demanded to know why it was seized. 

When the matter came up on Wednesday, counsel for Immigration Service, Jimoh Adamu told Justice Mohammed that he had just filed a counter-affidavit to oppose the suit of the former governor and served same on him as required by law.

Adamu, the legal adviser to the two respondents sought a brief adjournment to enable him to put his house in order.

But Odili's lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe did not oppose the request for the short adjournment.

Justice Mohammed subsequently fixed September 28 for the hearing.

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