The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed to a Federal High court sitting in Abuja that former Rivers State governor, Peter Odili is on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This revelation came in light duirng Wednesday’s hearing of the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/965/2021, which was filed by Odili to challenge the NIS over the seizure of his international passport.
Odili claimed that his passport was seized by the officials of the service on June 20, 2021, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja upon his arrival from a medical trip to the United Kingdom.
He said in his application that he had not done anything to warrant the seizure of his passport and prayed the court to compel the NIS to release his passport.
But in response, NIS filed a counter-affidavit through its lawyer, Jimoh Adamu.
It justified the seizure of Odili’s passport and faulted his claims in the suit.
According to the service, the seizure was the result of collaborative efforts by security agencies, saying that Odili is on EFCC watch list.
“The applicant’s passport was seized because he is on the service’s (NIS’) watch list as requested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC),” Adamu said.
“It is the government’s policy that streamlines the security agencies present at the point of entry/exit from the country. The respondents (NIS and its comptroller-general) are the lead agency for the above stated function.
“All security agencies collaborate by submitting list of any person on the watch list to the respondents.
“The respondents are to carry out the function at the point of entry/exit. The applicant (Odili) was watch listed at the request by the EFCC.
“By the virtue of Section 31 of the Immigration Act 2015, the respondents are empowered to prevent the departure from Nigeria where there is a request to arrest such a person in the public interest as requested in the instant case by the EFCC.
“By the above section of the Immigration Act, the respondents are empowered to seize the applicant’s international passport because he was watchlisted sequel to EFCC requested.”
Adamu then requested an adjournment and which Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN did not object.
The presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter to September 28.