Friday, 02 June, 2023


Why Court Revoked Search Warrant On Justice Odili’s Residence •Invasion repugnant, despicable ― Lawyer

Following the discovery of deceit on the part of the Federal Government, Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna of a Magistrate Court in Abuja has revoked a search warrant granted to the Joint Panel Recovery unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice to search the residence of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Peter- Odili.

Armed with the search warrant, security operatives, numbering over 30 stormed the residence of Justice Odili on Friday, but were vehemently resisted by security men at her residence.

The chief magistrate while revoking the search warrant granted security operatives to access the residence of the Supreme Court Justice, cited the Federal Government’s deception as the reason.

The panel comprising the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Police Force and the Ministry of Justice, had obtained a search warrant from the Magistrates’ Court after a whistleblower, Aliyu Umar, claimed to have observed illegal activities going on at Mary Peter-Odili’s home located on No. 9 Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja.

An affidavit deposed to by Umar on October 13, 2021, said, “I have observed some illegal activities going on in those houses within Abuja and hereby report the said matter to the law enforcement agency.

“I hereby state that all information provided by me to the EFCC is true and correct to the best of my knowledge,” Umar said, while, in a second affidavit deposed to by a senior police officer, CSP Lawrence Ajodo, the panel applied to the Chief Magistrate for a search warrant to search Mary Odili’s house, a request which was granted on October 29, 2021.

But the chief magistrate issued an order on Friday night accusing the government of misleading the court.

The order stated, “Upon misrepresentation to this honourable court that led to the issuance of a search warrant in favour of Joint Panel Recovery, Ministry of Justice, against House 9, Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja, dated October 29, 2021. In view of the above fact, the said search warrant is hereby revoked.”

When the security operatives stormed the house the Justice of the Supreme Court, who is also the wife of former Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State for the search, they were resisted by the justice who insisted that the house belonged to her and not her husband.

But the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement Friday evening that the commission had no hand in the matter and advised members of the public to disregard anything contrary.

The anti-graft agency’s statement read in part, “The attention the EFCC has been drawn to claims in a section of the media that operatives of the commission today (October 29, 2021) stormed the Maitama, Abuja home of a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili, purportedly to execute a search.

“The commission, by this statement, wishes to inform the public that the report is false as it did not carry out any operation at the home of Justice Odili. If there was any such operation as claimed by the media, it was not carried out by the EFCC. The commission enjoins the public to discountenance the report.”

Meanwhile, an Abuja based lawyer, Bola Aidi, while reacting to the action taken by security operatives said, “The invasion is repugnant and despicable.”

Aidi said the invasion of the personal home of Justice Mary Odili, “Represents another landmark ignominy in the way the executive arm of government has continued to conduct its relationship with the judiciary.”

According to Aidi, “The invasion of the personal home of Justice Mary Odili represents another landmark ignominy in the way the executive arm of government has continued to conduct its relationship with the Judiciary.

“Coming at a time when the nation is just trying to forget the ignoble escapade of midnight raids on homes of judges and Justices, this assault on the home of justice Mary Odili is not only scandalous but ignominious and should be condemned by all means possible and in every available language as despicable.

“I use this opportunity to call on the leaders of the Bar and the Bench to immediately put up legal frameworks that would guarantee freedom from executive lawlessness to judges in the dispensation of their duties, especially as we approach the 2023 elections.”

Peter Odili, who was Rivers state governor from 1999 to 2007, obtained a perpetual injunction from the Federal High Court in 2007 which barred the EFCC from investigating or prosecuting him.

In 2020, he again approached the Federal High Court to get another injunction to stop an impending probe.

Last month, the former governor sued the Nigeria Immigration Service for seizing his passport at the airport.

In its response, however, the NIS said it was the EFCC that asked it to seize Odili’s passport as part of a probe.

But the trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo had, in a judgment, ordered Immigration to release the passport to Odili.

Credit: Nigerian Tribune


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