The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the immediate release of the passport of a former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, which was seized by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
Justice Inyang Ekwo held that there was no legal justification for the action the NIS took against the former governor.
Odili, who piloted affairs of Rivers State from 1999 to 2007, had earlier approached the court to challenge the seizure of his passport by the NIS.
He told the court that his passport with numbers B50031305 was seized from him on June 20 by NIS officials for an undisclosed reason, shortly after he landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
He added that the NIS had since refused to release the passport to him, Vanguard reports.
In an 8-paragraphed affidavit he 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 travelling 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 his passport, claiming it was a routine check.
Odili maintained that he complied and handed his documents over to the official who went away with them and failed to return them.
He then pleaded with the court to intervene in the matter, stressing that he is a law-abiding senior citizen of Nigeria.
He also prayed the court to compel the two Respondents in the matter to release the passport to him.
Odili also sought an order of perpetual injunction stopping the Respondents from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or interfering with his fundamental right to freedom of movement.
The former governor equally demanded a written apology from the Respondents for the embarrassment caused him by the Immigration.
The respondents in the matter were identified as the NIS and its Comptroller General.
The NIS had in processes it filed before the court, maintained that its action was based on a directive from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which it said had placed the erstwhile governor on its watch list.