The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and its Comptroller-General has been ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja to return the international passport seized from a former Rivers Governor, Peter Odili to him.
Justice Inyang Ekwo declared that the seizure of Odili’s passport as unconstitutional in a judgment on Monday in a fundamental rights enforcement suit by the ex Governor of Rivers State.
The NIS had, while justifying its action, claimed to have seized the passport upon a request from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the grounds that Odili was on its watch list.
In an 8-paragraphed affidavit he personally deposed to, the former governor, said he landed at the airport from the United Kingdom where he had gone for his routine medical checkup.
He averred that upon his arrival, his traveling documents were checked and given back to him, but while he waited for his luggage to be cleared, an Immigration official approached him and demanded for the passport on claim of routing check.
Odili told the court that he complied and handed his documents over to the official who went away with and failed to return it back.
Stressing that he is a law abiding senior citizen of Nigeria that did not do anything to warrant the seizure of his passport, Odili, prayed the court to intervene in the matter.
He prayed the court to compel the two Respondents in the matter to release the passport to him, as well as to issue an order of perpetual injunction stopping them from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or interfering with his fundamental right to freedom of movement.
He equally prayed the court to compel the Respondents to tender written apology to him for the embarrassment caused him by the Immigration.
Cited as Respondents in the matter were the NIS and its Comptroller General.