The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has sought the permission of the Federal High Court to file fresh evidence against a former Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili on why his travelling passport was seized.
Operatives of the service had on June 20, 2021, seized Odili’s passport was on June 20, 2021, upon his arrival from a trip to the United Kingdom and has since been witheld.
It later predicated its action on the ground that Odili was placed on the watch list by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) over an alleged economic issues.
Following the development, the former Rivers has filed a suit against the NIS and its Comptroller General before the Federal High Court seeking order of the court to compel the release of the passport to him.
However, when the case came up on Tuesday, counsel to Immigration Mr Jimoh Abdulkair Adamu informed the court that his clients are willing to file fresh evidence against the ex-gobernor.
Adamu specifically told Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo that Immigration and the Comptroller General intend to file a better and further counter affidavit to justify the seizure of the passport.
Counsel to Dr Odili, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN in his own arguments said he will file better and further affidavit in support of the originating summons filed for his client.
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo in a brief ruling fixed Friday October 8 for further hearing in the matter and ordered the two lawyers to file and exchange all their processes ahead of the date.
Immigration had also filed counter affidavit to oppose the suit of the former governor and served same on Odili as required by law.
Odili, a medical doctor, deputy governor between 1992 and 1993 and two term substantive govoernor of Rivers State between 1999 and 2007 is the husband of Justice Mary Odili of the Nigeria’s Supreme Court.
He had dragged tha Nigeria Immigration Service and it’s Comptroller General before a federal high court in Abuja challenging the sezure of his password at the Nnamd Azikwe International airport in Abuja for undisclosed reasons.
In the fundermental rights enforcement suit, he had 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 on claim of 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 the court 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 hlis suit should be dismissed for being premature.
Deponent asserted that the action of Immigration 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.