Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, is on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ), a representative of the Nigerian Immigration Service has told a Federal High Court in Abuja
The two -term ex Governor is challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja on June 20, 2021, for undisclosed reasons.
The fundamental rights enforcement suit before the court has the Nigeria Immigration Service and its Comptroller General as respondents.
Odili said that the international passport with serial number B50031305 was seized from him on by operatives of the Immigration Service and had since been withheld.
In an 8-paragraph affidavit he personally deposed to, 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 a medical checkup.
Odili averred that on his arrival, his travel documents were checked and given back to him and that while waiting for his luggage, an Immigration official demanded the passport for a routine check, which he complied with, but that the document had since been seized.
Odili asked Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to compel the two respondents to release the passport to him and grant an order of perpetual injunction against the respondents from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or interfering with his fundamental rights 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 revealed that Odili passport was seized because he was 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’s passport was seized 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 hlis suit should be dismissed for being premature.
Deponent asserted that the action of Immigration was as a result of collaboration by all the federal government security agencies and that the respondents were only carrying out their statutory functions.
The affidavit said that since the passport was seized, Odili had never demanded its release or cared to know why it was seized.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, counsel for Immigration Service Mr Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, informed 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 put his house in order.
Odili lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, did not oppose the request for the short adjournment.
The matter continues on September 28, for hearing.