How Nigeria Immigration clearly violates the constitution by seizing EndSARs promoter’s passport

IN clear violation to the Section 35 and 41 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has continued to hold on to the international passport of Modupe Odele aka Mochievous, one of the #EndSARS promoters.

Odele, a lawyer and one of the popular faces during the EndSARs protest offered free legal services to many Nigerians arrested during the protest. She later disclosed on her verified Twitter handle that the officers of the NIS on November 1, 2020, stopped her at the airport and seized her passport in the process.

She said the NIS officers did not give any reason for the action other than telling her that she was under investigation.

She said she also tried to retrieve her passport on November 3 from the officers of the NIS but was told that she was still under investigation, even though she was neither charged nor arrested for any offence.

“Hello people, I went to retrieve my passport today but was told this: “We cannot release your passport because you are still under investigation”.

“As of now, I’m not aware of any charges against me or what I am under investigation for.”

Meanwhile, it is the sixth day and the NIS officers are still holding on to Odele’s passport, which clearly violates the section 35 and 41 of the constitution that gives liberty and freedom of movement power to every citizen of the country.

The section 35 of the constitution stated that every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be denied such liberty unless the court ordered for such liberty to be violated and that’s after the person might have been found guilty of any criminal offence by the court of law.

“Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law,”

“(a) in the execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;

“(b)by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed upon him by law,” says section 35 of the constitution.

Similarly, section 41 of the constitution gives freedom to every citizen to move freely without been hindered unless committed or suspected to have committed a criminal offence.

“Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.

    “(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society-

    “(a) imposing restrictions on the residence or movement of any person who has committed or is reasonably suspected to have committed a criminal offence in order to prevent him from leaving Nigeria,” section 41 reads.

    All attempts made by The ICIR to confirm from the NIS the reason why the officers are holding on to Odele’s passport were declined.

    Sunday James, Public Relations Officer of the NIS initially denied knowledge of the incident, after which he stopped responding to calls and text messages sent to his phone.

    'Niyi worked with The ICIR as an Investigative Reporter and Fact-checker from 2020 till September 2022. You can shoot him an email via [email protected]. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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