From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
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 upon his arrival from a trip to the United Kingdom, and it has since been withheld.
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 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 his passport.
However, when the case came up yesterday, counsel to Immigration, Mr Jimoh Abdulkair Adamu, informed the court that his clients were willing to file fresh evidence against the ex-governor.
Adamu specifically told Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo that Immigration and the Comptroller General intends 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, said he would file a better and further affidavit, in support of the originating summons filed for his client.
Justice Inyang Edem 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 a counter affidavit to oppose the suit of the former governor and served the same on Odili as required by law.
Odili, a medical doctor, deputy governor between 1992 and 1993, and two term substantive governor of Rivers State between 1999 and 2007 is the husband of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court.
He had dragged the Nigeria Immigration Service and it’s Comptroller General before a federal high court in Abuja, challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja, for undisclosed reasons.
He claimed to be a senior citizen of Nigeria, law abiding and had not done anything to warrant the seizure of his passport.
Odili prayed the court to compel the two respondents to release the passport to him and issue an order of perpetual injunction against 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 Immigration.