November 2, 2021

Sinister siege to Justice Odili’s home

Agenda for 36 governors meeting tomorrow

THE recent siege to the home of the Odilis had the fingerprints of operatives on a sinister mission. An Abuja Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Iyanna, had issued a search warrant on No. 9 Imo River Street, Maitama, sequel to a supposed tip-off.

Operatives, said to be members of the Asset Tax Recovery team of the Ministry of Justice, descended on the home of Justice Mary Odili, the second highest-ranking Supreme Court Judge.

The operatives backed off after their failed attempt to break into the house, and the magistrate has since revoked the warrant. Indeed, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, has ordered that the magistrate be queried for issuing a warrant which carried no name of the intended person to be searched, contrary to the demands of his duty.

Also, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, as well as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, have denied any role in the incident. The impression officially being created is that the siege was a “mistake”.

Why would a magistrate issue a search warrant that has no name on it? Should a magistrate or judge not perform due diligence before hand on the subject against whom he/she issues a warrant? 

Also, should the task force not have done a due diligence on occupants of the address on the unnamed warrant? If they had done so, they would have discovered the identity of the occupants and prevented the “mistake”. Even the assumption of mistake shows the level of gross incompetence, corruption and impunity that government officials now display in most of their activities. Why haven’t the culprits been sanctioned?

Discernible Nigerians believe there is more to it than a “mistake”. The siege was obviously concocted with a view to embarrassing the Odilis who have been in the cross-hairs of state operatives in recent weeks. 

The Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, had seized Dr. Peter Odili’s passport (though the courts have ordered its release) and the EFCC had claimed that Odili was under their watch. This newspaper does not believe the speculation that the siege was staged pursuant to a sinister move to disgrace Justice Mary Odili out of service in much the same manner the former CJN, Walter Onnoghen, was removed from office. 

We also do not share the conviction that this plot is to prevent a South-Easterner from succeeding retiring and ailing CJN Mohammed. According to this logic, it is all about the 2023 politics. This is condemnable and unacceptable.

We support the call by the Rivers State Governor for the exposure, arrest and prosecution of the operatives who threatened the safety of the Odilis. Unless this is done, the Federal Government will fall into the hands of its accusers.