Senate Moves To Upturn Peter Odili’s Perpetual Injunction

Years after a former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, secured a perpetual injunction, restraining the EFCC or any other government agency from arresting or prosecuting him, Senator Chukwuka Utazi-led Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, has revealed that an amendment of the EFCC Act, which will upturn the injunction will be soon be passed.

The amendment is coming amid plans by EFCC to reopen investigation of alleged misappropriation of N100 billion by Dr. Odili when he held sway as governor between 1999 and 2007.

Senator Utazi, who led other committee members on an oversight visit to the South-South regional office of the EFCC in Port Harcourt at the weekend, said it was wrong for one arm of the government to stop another from performing its constitutional roles.

Reacting to a request made by the South-South regional coordinator of EFCC, Mr. Ishaq Salihu, that the Senate should assist in reopening the investigation and possibly prosecute Odili, Senator Utazi said the amendment will give the anti-graft agency the leeway to bypass the injunction.

Utazi said: “The House of Reps has done its bit on the amendment of EFCC Act. It has come to us. The amendments effected in the House were not exhaustive. We are going to look into this (issuance of perpetual injunction) issue with a view to correcting it.

“Nobody should stop an organ of government from performing its duties. We want to empower them (EFCC) to work. They cannot work with one hand tied to the back. We are going to ensure that everything is done in accordance with the rule of law. Nobody should be shortchanged.”

Mr. Ishaq had said that the injunction was affecting the morale of operatives in the area, as well as prosecuting other suspects fingered in the alleged fraud.

“The perpetual injunction of Odili is a problem for us. Because of that injunction, it means we cannot invite anybody related to the case to give any testimony. That injunction of Justice Buba has killed a lot of cases. The injunction has crippled the EFCC.

“It has killed the morale around here. I do not know if the Senate can look into that. EFCC Act makes it hard for us to do anything. People who should enjoy immunity are presidents and vice, governors and their deputies. We can only investigate them. But in the case of Odili, our hands are tied.”

Recalled that Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, had in 2007, given an order of perpetual injunction, preventing EFCC and any other government agency from prosecuting or arresting Odili, who was accused of allegedly embezzling about N100 billion of Rivers State money during his eight-year tenure.