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The Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday finally handed over the international passport belonging to #EndSARS protester, Ms Modupe Odele, back to her.
Odele, had through her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, offered free legal aid to persons who were unjustly arrested during the demonstrations was prevented from travelling after Nigerian authorities seized her passport.
The lawyer wrote on twitter, that she has now collected her passport and no issues.
“Passport now picked up. No issues. I’m told I can travel at any time. Thank you so much everyone for the help and concern”.
The immigration boss, Mr Muhammed Babandede, said his agency seized Mrs Odele’s passport based on a signal received from security operatives.
He said; “We represent all the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria at the border posts. So if there are issues concerning anyone, we are always asked to observe, check and report to the appropriate authorities. In fact, we do many things at the borders which are not known to many Nigerians. Some of them border on national security which we don’t need to disclose to Nigerians.
“So it was one of those issues that necessitated that we should take her passport. We have checked and we are able to finish. Now she can travel. She wanted to come but we said she could even send her lawyer, so that she can travel.”
Reacting to the question on how much the victim would have lost in terms of her missed flight and engagements, Mr Babandede said it would be difficult to make any claim concerning that, since it was a matter of national security.
“The truth is that we don’t explain issues of national security. Even in court, we only explain to the judge without giving details. Let’s say, for instance, there is a roadblock, and security operatives stopped you to conduct searches on you, if you missed an engagement, it doesn’t mean that you can make claims,” he said.
Thousands of Nigerians marched across cities to demand an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, a police unit accused of extrajudicial killings and abuses but government officials started cracking down on some of the members that played active roles.
In a newsletter sent out on last week, she had confirmed she was on her way to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday when she was accosted by immigration officers.
She wrote, “For my birthday, I had planned a trip to the Maldives. It was really for a break as the events of the last three weeks have exhausted my mind and body in a way I have never been exhausted in my life.
“I went to the airport, passed through immigration, and while I was putting my bags through the body and baggage scanner, the immigration officer who had previously cleared me, called me back. He told me he had orders from above to detain me.
“Okay, at this point I’m like excuse me, my flight is in an hour. On what grounds are you detaining me?” He didn’t respond. Instead, he goes to his computer where he typed in my name and something that looked like a ‘wanted poster’ popped up on the portal.
“He blocked my view so I couldn’t see most of it but I saw some of it. And it read something like – ‘This person is under investigation by XYZ Intelligence Agency. If seen, they should be apprehended on sight.’”
NewsWireNGR also recalls that, Nigeria’s Former Minister Obiageli “Oby” had written to the Nigerian Government authorities requesting an immediate “immediately retrieve of @Mochievous Modupe Odele’s passport seized by the Immigration Service.
In the meantime, the Federal Government continues to clampdown on persons involved in the #EndSARS protest, scores arrested and others feeling the country.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had frozen 20 bank accounts belonging to persons involved in the protest .
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