The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja insisted that the international passport of a former Rivers State Governor, Sir Peter Odili, was seized by its operatives on the order of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The agency begged the high court to dismiss a suit instituted by the former governor to compel the release of the passport to him.
Counsel to the Immigration, Mr Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, while defending the action of his clients tendered a letter by EFCC instructing Immigration to seize the passport because Odili was on the watchlist for some infractions.
Adamu also asked the court to reject the case because the name on the seized international passport did not correspond with the name of Peter Odili that instituted the court case.
Odili’s passport was on June 20, 2021, seized from him by operatives of the Immigration Service upon his arrival from a trip to the United Kingdom and has since been withheld.
Justice Inyang Ekwo has however fixed October 18 for judgment in Odili’s suit challenging the seizure of his international passport by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Ekwo fixed the date after taking arguments from Chief Ifedayo Adedipe SAN who stood for the former governor and Mr Jimoh Adamu who represented the NIS and its comptroller-general.
Adedipe, while adopting his processes, prayed the court to order the respondents to return the international passport of his client on the grounds that it was unlawfully seized from him.
The senior lawyer submitted that the right of Odili to his property was violated by the immigration because there was no order of court before the passport seizure was effected.
He prayed the court to discountenance the claim of the respondents that Odili was on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission adding that up till now, his client had not been interrogated or criminal charge instituted against him for any offence.
“The applicant is a senior citizen of Nigeria and is 73 years old, a former deputy governor, a two-time Governor of Rivers and an accomplished medical doctor as well as a holder of national honors,” he said.
“EFCC is not a body that can instruct immigration to seize passport in place of a court order.”
Adedipe also asked the court to reject a letter from the EFCC exhibited by immigration to justify the seizure of the passport adding that the purported letter can not take the place of an order of a law court.
Odili had dragged the Nigeria Immigration Service and its Comptroller General before the federal high court in Abuja challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja for undisclosed reasons.
In the fundamental 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 withheld.
In an eight-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 the passport on a claim of routine check which he complied with but that the document has since been withheld.
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 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.
However in a counter-affidavit by the Immigration Service, It was revealed that Odili’s 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 watchlisted 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 was 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 its release or cared to know why it was seized.
Justice Ekwo announced that he would deliver judgment in the matter on October 18
New Jersey, Texas want 8 Nigerians arrested in Cape Town for $6.8m scams
Warrants of arrests have been issued by the U.S. states of New Jersey and Texas for eight Nigerians busted in Cape Town on Tuesday for online scams, even as they await extradition.
A spokesman of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority Eric Ntabazalila said the Nigerians are wanted for multiple scams running into $6.8million.
More than 100 victims have lost an estimated R100 million (6.8 million US dollars) to the gang since 2011.
Ntabazalila made this known after the Nigerians made preliminary appearance at Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, facing various charges relating to internet scams, money laundering and identity theft, already filed in the U.S.
The Nigerians were charged by superseding indictment with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, spanning from 2011 to 2021. One defendant remains at large.
This is according to the United States Department of Justice.
The suspects are:
Perry Osagiede, aka “Lord Sutan Abubakar de 1st,” aka “Rob Nicolella,” aka “Alan Salomon,” 52;
Enorense Izevbigie, aka “Richy Izevbigie,” aka “Lord Samuel S Nujoma,” 45;
Franklyn Edosa Osagiede, aka, “Lord Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,” aka, “Edosa Franklyn Osagiede,” aka “Dave Hewitt,” aka, “Bruce Dupont,” 37;
Osariemen Eric Clement, aka, “Lord Adekunle Ajasi,” aka, “Aiden Wilson,” 35;
Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, aka, “Lord Jesse Makoko,” aka, “Philip Coughlan,” 37; and
Two Nigerians jailed in UK for fraudulently claiming £489,000 COVID-19 loan
Musa Mudashiru, aka “Lord Oba Akenzua,” 33.
The men were arrested on Tuesday as part of a joint operation by the FBI, Hawks and the US Secret Service.
They are facing extradition charges to the United States.
The accused allegedly preyed on women – many of them widows or divorcees – by pretending to have a genuine romantic relationship with them.
Ntabazalila said the accused inflicted the losses on American citizens and others around the world.
“It is a first appearance pending an extradition application. They are facing four charges in America.
“Those charges are conspiracy to commit wire fraud; second charges, wire fraud; third charges, is money laundering; and the fourth charge is aggravated theft of identity. It’s alleged that they defrauded victims in America and other parts, in other countries.
“The amount it leads to 6.8 million (US) dollars, which they defrauded from America and other countries.
“There are warrants of arrests in New Jersey and Texas. So we will be opposing their bail application next Tuesday.
“We will mention then the reasons behind opposing bail application. One of them is that we feel that they are a flight risk and some of them are in the country illegally.”
Proceedings have been adjourned to next Tuesday and Thursday for formal bail proceedings.
2023: Atiku, Tambuwal have indicated interest
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has claimed that former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, have indicated interest in contesting in the 2023 presidential election.
There have been speculations in the past weeks over the candidates for the next general elections, especially with the issues raised around zoning.
Makinde, speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, boasted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has “eminently qualified” personalities that can lead Nigeria.
He also said the only way PDP can be stopped, is if the party is divided internally.
“Once PDP governors are able to move in one direction, align on most of the issues and the challenges we are faced with, I think there is hope for this country.
“Our party has eminently qualified personalities that can lead this country successfully.
“Some have indicated interest like former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, like governor Tambuwal, like governor Bala Mohammed.
“The bottom line is when we get to that bridge, we will definitely cross it. What is important at this stage, which I will solicit the support of PDP members and the generality of Nigerians, is please support us to have a successful national convention.
“There is no way you can become anything — president, vice-president, even governor — if we don’t have a party. What we want to do first is ensure that we get things right within our party,” Makinde said.
When Makinde was asked if he thinks PDP will take over power from the APC in 2023, he replied: “Well, it is a question that I know Nigerians will answer and they will answer decisively.”
EndSARS: Police remain at Lekki toll gate
The Police are yet to vacate the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, two days after the End SARS memorial event.
The anniversary was also marked in states, mostly in Nigeria’s South, and in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The commemoration was to remind the federal government of police reform and reiterate condemnation of the military shooting on October 20, 2020.
Citizens nationwide have been complaining of unending brutality, the basis of the EndSARS uprising ab initio.
Last week, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Isah Barnabas slapped a traveller in Okene, Kogi State, for challenging officers after collecting a bribe from a passenger carrying a laptop.
On social media, there are videos of policemen across the country assaulting Nigerians in defiance of the caution by the Force headquarters.
Adeola Oyinlade, a human rights lawyer warned the police to stop relying on the Public Order Act of 1979 to justify crackdowns.
Oyinlade recalled that on September 21, a number of retired police officers protested at the National Assembly over poor pension benefits.
“They did this because it is provided for in the constitution. The freedom of citizens to express views on a matter that affects them is a cornerstone upon which the existence of democratic society rests”, he maintained.
Citizens and organizations strongly denounce the recurring use of exercise force by the police and other security agencies,
During the latest gathering in Lekki, an Uber driver, Adedotun Clement was assaulted despite explaining that his presence was not to foment trouble.
Also at the same venue, the police arrested Abisola Alawode, a journalist working for Legit, after hitting and dragging him.
In Osun, a correspondent, Sikiru Obarayese was beaten, arrested and charged to court within one hour on trumped-up charges.
In her judgement, the Magistrate, A. O. Daramola condemned the police action and struck out the case.
The Advocacy for Advancement of Peace & Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI) berated the Osun command.
National Coordinator, Sulaimon Suberu demanded that CSP Oyegade Akinloye, who ordered the arrest of the journalists, be sacked.
Suberu noted that Akinloye was notorious for rights violation and displays “temperamental tendency” unbecoming of an officer.
“He is famous for manipulating judicial process to get a pound of flesh of assumed enemies”, his statement read.
“The manner in which Sikiru Obarayese was tortured and hurriedly dragged to court for arraignment on spurious charges speaks volumes.
“Such barbaric directive to clamp down on the media is practically antithetical to rule of law and democratic ethos.
“We consider officers like CSP Akinloye a threat to democracy. His type should not be allowed to superintend young policemen”, Suberu said.
Likewise, the Take It Back (TIB) Movement in Osun, warned the police and others to stop acting lawless.
Samson Tola, the Coordinator, and Owolabi Opeyemi, the Secretary, insisted that protests are citizens’ rights that would never be given up to security agents.
In a statement, the officials noted that the police have been a puppet of the ruling class for too long and must stop.
The group demanded that Akinloye and all operatives that manhandle Obarayese be investigated and prosecuted.
TIB further urged the police to produce the killers of Alimi Ahmed and Mutiu Lawal. Both died during Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s visit to the End SARS protest in 2020.
“The Nigeria Police should publicly apologize for attacking, arresting and dehumanizing Sikiru Obarayese.
“Protests can never be stopped in a democracy. The police and other security agencies should end the brutalization of protesters”, TIB added.
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