Nigerian lawyer and outspoken anti Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) activist Modupe Odele’s passport was seized by Nigerian immigration officials during the pre-boarding process of her flight out of the country on 1 November.
Odele, with the help of her comrades at activist group Feminist Coalition, has been providing free legal defense for peaceful protesters in Nigeria who are intimidated and arrested by law enforcement officers.
At the time of the disturbance, Odele tweeted, “I was stopped and my passport taken, some minutes before boarding the flight. No reason was given, other than ‘you are under investigation.'” She then went on to say, “Holding on to my passport without giving me any reason for it is a breach of my constitutional right. I’ve not been informed of any investigation against me, I’m not running. I am here. Investigate. Ask me questions but do not continue to hold on to my passport with no reasons.”
By Thursday, November 5th, Odele had still not been informed of why she was targeted. Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) spokesperson Sunday James told Pulse Odele’s passport was seized not because of her ties to the #EndSARS movement, but rather a reinforcing of a ‘restriction order’. James said, “When there is a directive from any agency of government not specific, we have to enforce either entry or restriction of entry by anybody who has been directed not to be allowed exit or entry and as a matter of fact, we cannot as a border management agency, allow anybody who has been restricted from leaving the country to go out and we cannot allow anybody who has been restricted from entry to enter.” He went on to say, “So, it is a routine assignment and it has nothing to do with #EndSARS. We are the lead agency for the security management of the border. It has to do with the restriction order which we are duty-bound to enforce.”
On Friday, Odele was instructed to collect her passport by 4pm. She requested an earlier time and was denied.
Some twitter followers hypothesised the risk of being detained over the weekend, as she would then only be allowed legal help come Monday morning.
@Mochievous They would detain you— make no mistake.
You guys need to read books about the Nigerian regime. They ar… https://t.co/ovi2vitch7
— Ugo Kelechi, Ph.D (@Ugo Kelechi, Ph.D)1604669738.0