September 16, (THEWILL) – A former Rivers state governor, Peter Odili, is on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said.
The NIS disclosed this on Wednesday in response to a suit filed by Odili in a Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the seizure of his international passport by the service.
The former governor had dragged the NIS and its Comptroller General before the Federal High Court, challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja for undisclosed reasons.
In the fundamental rights enforcement suit, he claimed the international passport was seized on June 20, 2021, by operatives of the NIS and has since been withheld.
Odili, in an eight-paragraph affidavit claimed his passport was seized upon his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where he had gone for his medicals.
“On arrival, my traveling documents were checked and given back to me. But while waiting for my luggage, an official of immigration demanded for the passport on claim of routing check which I complied with, but the document has since been withheld,” he said.
Odili, who claimed he had not done anything to warrant the seizure of his passport, prayed Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to compel the two respondents to release the passport to him and grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining 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 NIS.
However, in a counter-affidavit, the counsel to the NIS claimed Odili’s passport was seized because he is on the EFCC’S watch list.
The affidavit deposed to by one Okwe Ernest of the legal department of the immigration service stated that Odili’s passport was seized at the request of the EFCC.
NIS 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.
NIS said its action resulted from collaboration between the federal government’s security agencies, adding that it was only carrying out its statutory functions.
Justice Mohammed subsequently adjourned hearing on the case to September 28.