Justice Mary Odili: Court revokes FG’s search warrant

Justice Mary Odili

A Chief Magistrates’ Court has revoked a search warrant issued by the Federal Ministry of Justice’s Joint Panel Recovery section to search Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili’s house.

After a whistleblower, Aliyu Umar, claimed to have observed illicit activity at No. 9, Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja, the panel, which includes the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Ministry of Justice, got a search warrant from the magistrates’ court.

“I have noticed various criminal activities going on in those houses within Abuja are illegal and hereby report the aforementioned matter to the law enforcement agency,” Umar wrote in his affidavit dated October 13, 2021.

“I therefore declare that, to the best of my knowledge, everything information submitted to the EFCC is truthful and correct.”

The panel applied to the chief magistrate in Abuja for a search warrant in a second affidavit testified to by a senior police official, CSP Lawrence Ajodo.

On October 29, 2021, the Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Iyanna, approved the search warrant.

The police and other members of the panel invaded the residence of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili, who is also the wife of former Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State, armed with the search order.
She was alleged to have resisted police attempts to search her home, claiming that the house was hers and not her husband’s.

“EFCC operatives armed with a search warrant invaded Justice Odili’s home today, claiming to be investigating her spouse,” according to a top source. Justice Odili claimed that the house belonged to her and not to her husband.

“As I speak with you, the operatives are still on the premises, insistent on searching the residence.”

In a statement, the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said the agency had no involvement in the incident and asked the public to reject any reports to the contrary.
“The EFCC’s attention has been attracted to accusations in a segment of the media that operatives of the commission today, October 29, 2021, raided the Maitama, Abuja residence of a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mary Odili, reportedly to execute a search,” the statement said in part.

“By issuing this statement, the commission intends to tell the public that the claim is untrue, since it did not carry out any operation at Justice Odili’s residence.” The EFCC did not carry out any of the alleged operations, according to the media. The panel advises the general public to disregard the report.”

However, in the midst of the debate, the chief magistrate issued an order accusing the government of misleading the court on Friday night.
“Upon misrepresentation to this honourable court that resulted in the issuing of a search warrant in favour of Joint Panel Recovery, Ministry of Justice, targeting House 9, Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja, dated October 29, 2021,” according to the order. The abovementioned search order is hereby canceled in light of the foregoing circumstances.”

In 2007, the Federal High Court issued a perpetual injunction prohibiting the EFCC from investigating or prosecuting Peter Odili, who served as governor from 1999 until 2007.

In 2020, he went back to the Federal High Court to seek another order to halt an upcoming investigation. The former governor sued the Nigeria Immigration Service last month after his passport was seized at the airport.

The NIS, on the other hand, said that the EFCC had ordered it to seize Odili’s passport as part of an investigation.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, on the other hand, ordered Immigration to release Odili’s passport right away.

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