By Olalekan Awojodu
Former Rivers State governor, Dr Dr Peter Odili has been placed on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) over alleged economic issues.
Odili, a Medical Doctor was also a two term governor of Rivers State between 1999 and 2007. He is the husband of Justice Mary Odili of the Nigeria’s Supreme Court.
The former governor had dragged the Nigeria Immigration Service and it’s Comptroller General before a Federal High Court, in Abuja challenging the sezure of his International Passport at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja for undisclosed reasons.
In the fundermental rights enforcement suit, he claimed that the international passport with numbers B50031305 was seized from him on June 20, 2021 by operatives of the Immigration Service and has since been witheld.
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 his medicals.
Odili averred that on his arrival, his traveling documents were checked and given back to him and that while waiting for his luggage, an official of Immigration demanded for the passport claiming routing check which he complied with but that the document has since been witheld.
He claimed to be a senior citizen of Nigeria, law abiding and had not done anything to warrant the seizure of the passport from him.
Odili prayed Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to compel the two respondents to release the passport to him and order of perpetual injunction against the respondents from further harrassing, embarrassing, intimidating or interfering with his fundermental 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 revealed that Odili 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.
Deponent asserted that the action of Immigration service was as a result of collaborations of 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 has never for once demanded for its release or cared to know why it was seized.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, counsel to Immigration Service Mr Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu informed Justice Mohammed that he had just filed 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’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe did not oppose the request for the short adjournment
Justice Mohammed subsequently fixed September 28 to hear the matter.