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Malami reacts to search of Justice Odili’s house, orders probe

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…Says action has criminal undertones, denies involvement

THE Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami has denied any involvement in the invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s apartment by security operatives.

This disclosure is a reaction to  viral video showing elders from the Rivers State criticising the attorney-general over the home invasion.

In the footage, Malami was accused of injustice, kidnapping, and attempted murderer.

But the minister disassociated himself from the invasion, describing it as an action with ‘criminal undertones.’

He said in a statement issued by his media aide, Umar Gwandu, at the weekend that court warrant for the arrest of the  Justice of the Supreme Court, did not emanate from his office.

Part of affidavits relied upon to invade Odili's home. Source: BBC.
Part of affidavits relied upon to invade Odili’s home. Source: BBC.

Rather, the minister condemned issuance of the  search warrant and called for a probe.

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A report says the  warrant was later revoked.

“It is important to set the record straight that as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, Malami will not stoop too low to be associated with an apparent in-elegant and nasty court process on the strength of which the purported search warrant was procured.

“The media reports on the issue depict a too untidy process that could never emanate from the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

“The general public needs to know that there was nothing called ‘Joint Panel Recovery Under the Ministry of Justice’ in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and by extension the entire Federal Ministry of Justice,” Gwandu said.

He added: “what we have is ‘Assets Recovery and Management Unit’ the mandate of which does not include stings operations. Numerous incongruities in the documents being circulated in relation to the saga reveal traces of criminal actions which particular regards to:

“The name as contained on the purported letter headed paper “Ghost’s Account For Local Whistle Blowers & Assets Tax Recovery Panel”.

Affidavit relied upon to invade Odili’s home. Source: BBC.

“The ambiguous reference to “Ministry of Justice” without clarifying as to whether it is Federal or State Ministry and of which State.

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“The claimed office address which as revealed by the letter-headed paper is not the address of the Federal Ministry of Justice. Email address used on the letter.”

According to him, “all these deductions would have assisted a discerning mind to arrive at a reasonable conclusion of criminal undertones associated with the court process on the basis of which the purported search warrant was procured.”

Part of the affidavits relied upon to invade Odili’s home. Source: BBC.

The AGF said he had directed the relevant authorities to undertake a wider investigation and  prosecute anyone found culpable.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the State Security Service (SSS) also denied involvement.

The ICIR  reached out to the Police Force Public Relations Officer DCP Frank Mba but he did not respond.

The incident has attracted mixed reactions among Nigerians.

Recall that Peter Odili, husband of Justice Mary Odili, was the Rivers State governor from 1999 to 2007.

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Following his investigation by the EFCC, he sought a perpetual injunction from a federal high court in 2007 which barred the anti-graft agency from prosecuting him.

In 2020, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain further approached a federal high court to get another injunction to stop an impending probe.

In September, the former governor sued the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for seizing his passport at the airport.

The action was attributed to the EFCC.

But, on October 18, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Federal High Court ordered the immediate return of the seized international passport.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected] Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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