Former Nigerian Governor Placed on EFCC Watchlist
Peter Odili, the former governor of Rivers State, has been placed on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s watch list for alleged economic issues.
Peter Odili is the husband of Justice Mary Odili of the Nigerian Supreme Court, who served as deputy governor between 1992 and 1993 and two terms as substantive governor of Rivers State between 1999 and 2007.
The former governor had taken the Nigeria Immigration Service and its Comptroller General to a Federal High Court in Abuja to contest the seizure of his passport at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport for undisclosed reasons.
He claimed in the fundamental rights enforcement suit that the international passport with the numbers B50031305 was seized from him by Immigration Service operatives on June 20, 2021 and has since been withheld.
The former governor claimed in an eight-paragraph affidavit that his passport was seized upon his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where he had gone for medicals.
Odili claimed that his travel documents were checked and returned to him upon arrival, and that while waiting for his luggage, an immigration official demanded his passport on the grounds of a routing check, which he provided, but that the document has since been withheld.
He claimed to be a law-abiding senior citizen of Nigeria who had done nothing to warrant the seizure of his passport.
Odili asked Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to order the two respondents to release his passport and to issue a perpetual injunction prohibiting them from harassing, embarrassing, intimidating, or interfering with his fundamental right to freedom of movement in the future.
The former governor also demanded a written apology for the humiliation he had suffered as a result of the immigration issue.
However, it was revealed in a counter affidavit by the Immigration Service that Odili’s passport was seized because he was on the EFCC’s watch list.
Peter Odili was placed on the EFCC’s watch list, according to an affidavit signed by one Okwe Ernest of the Immigration Service’s Legal Department.
The Immigration Service claimed that the former governor was not entitled to the request made in court and that his lawsuit should be dismissed because it was filed too soon.
The respondent claimed that Immigration’s action was the result of collaboration between all federal government security agencies, and that the respondents were simply carrying out their legal obligations.
Odili has never demanded the passport’s release or inquired as to why it was seized, according to the affidavit.
On Wednesday, Mr. Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, counsel for the Immigration Service, informed Justice Mohammed that he had just filed a counter affidavit to oppose the former governor’s suit and had served it on him as required by law.
Adamu, the two respondents’ Legal Adviser, requested a brief adjournment so that he could get his affairs in order.
Chief Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, an Odili lawyer, did not object to the request for a short adjournment.
The matter was then scheduled to be heard on September 28 by Justice Mohammed.
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