At last, Immigration releases Peter Odili’s passport as court revokes N2m fine

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Monday confirmed that the seized passport of the former Rivers state governor, Peter Odili, has been returned to him.

Consequent upon the development, the N2 million fine earlier imposed on the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), and its lawyer, Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, by the court has been revoked.

NIS said the passport seized on the order of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was returned to Odili since December 20, 2021.

Lead counsel to Immigration, Jimoh Adamu, in an affidavit of compliance dated 6th but filed on 7th of February, 2022 he personally deposed, told Justice Inyang Ekwo that the document was released to Odili based on the judgment of the Federal High Court.

He however said the Immigration Service has already filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the order of the Federal High Court releasing the passport to the applicant.

The counsel protested alleged embarrassment caused him and his client by the lead counsel to Odili, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, by allegedly misleading the court on December 21, 2021 that the passport had not been released to his client.

He urged the court to revoke the 2million naira fine imposed on him and the immigration on the ground that the passport was released on December 20, 2021 whereas the order imposing 2 million naira fine on him was issued on December 21, 2021, 24 hours after the passport was released through Odili’s doughter who is a Judge of the FCT High Court, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme.

The counsel tendered the letter of acknowledgment by Dr Odili confirming the receipt of the document and urged the court to reverse the two million naira fine imposed on him and to also reverse another order asking the AGF to penalize him.

Odili’s counsel, Ifedayo, confirmed that his client, Dr Peter Odili, has confirmed the release of the passport.

In his brief ruling, Justice Ekwo held that in view of the information by the immigration counsel and in view of the confirmation by Odili’s lawyer, that the order of the court has been obeyed, the two million naira fine imposed on the NIS and its counsel and another order that the AGF should penalise him are all reversed.

The judge has fixed May 25 for report of the Court of Appeal proceeding in respect of the appeal against the Federal High Court judgment.