By Bala Ibrahim
Since last week, Nigeria and Nigerians have been compelled to entertain all manner of yellow stories, regarding the invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili, a Justice of the Supreme court of Nigeria. Last Friday, the media was awash with stories that security operatives had invaded the Abuja residence of justice Mary Odili, a Supreme court Justice and wife of former Governor of Rivers State, chief Peter Odili, based on alleged information that illegal activities were going on there.
Heavily armed officers, suspected to be operatives of the Nigeria Police Force(NPF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and members of the Joint Panel Recovery unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, reportedly invaded the house of the senior justice located in Maitama.
According the reports, the security officials claimed they were executing a court warrant to search the house, and the warrant was procured from the Federal Capital Territory Chief Magistrate Court.
Shortly after the news of the invasion had gone viral, the EFCC issued a statement, distancing itself from what happened. Almost immediately also, the Magistrate of the court from where the order was obtained, Emmanuel Iyanna revoked the order, saying the it was based “upon misrepresentation” of facts.
The Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, whose name was being peddled as one that directed the procurement of the order, also issued a statement, where he denied being involved in the invasion. According to his spokesman, Umar Gwandu, Malami said the invasion was not ordered by him, neither does it have any link with his Ministry or any unit he supervises.
Like the opening of a can of worms, which creates a complicated situation by bringing in more problems in an attempt to solve one problem, different people started raising alarm on the matter, with some calling for an investigation with a view to fishing out the perpetrators for punishment.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Rivers State Government have collectively condemned the invasion in strong terms, while calling on the Government to investigate and subsequently prosecute the alleged perpetrators.
The general assumption and direction of accusation is on AGF Malami, EFCC, the police and other operatives of the Government. No one is looking at the likelihood of the victim stage-managing the invasion her self, with a view to buying public sympathy in other to thwart or preempt a planned operation that was designed to catch her husband from committing a crime, or from an already committed crime.
The public is yet to forget what happened to Justice Ibrahim Buba, the Federal High Court judge in Port Harcourt, who gave a “perpetual injunction” stopping Nigerian security agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from investigating the former governor of River State, Peter Odili, and husband to Mary Odili, the very Supreme court Justice that is alleging this particular invasion.
Justice Buba had to be queried by the National Judicial Commission (NJC), following a petition filed by a UK-based Nigerian, Osita Mba, who accused the judge of corruptly doing the bidding of his colleague, Justice Mary Odili.
Sometimes in the time when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the governor of Lagos, his official residence was allegedly invaded by some unknown persons and the governor raised an alarm, calling on the police to investigate the matter with immediate effect. Governor Tinubu was pointing accusing fingers at his political opponents, but late Gani Gawehenmi quickly came up with a counter, saying the first suspect to be invited by the police should be Governor Tinubu himself. As far as Gani Fawehenmi was concerned, the invasion was stage-managed by Tinubu, with a view to preempting something that was in the pipeline.
Going by the antecedents of Justice Mary Odili on the issue of her husband, particularly her attempts to keep him permanently free from investigation, using multiple marvelous maneuvers, no one should rule any option in, just as no one should also rule any option out. It’s either Justice Mary Odili knows the law better than all the lawyers in Nigeria, including those that drafted the constitution, or there is something amiss and amusingly hidden to the public.
It is gratifying to hear that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Alkali Usman Baba, has ordered the immediate detailed investigations into the reported invasion, after announcing that the leadership of the force is not aware and did not at any time order police operatives to carry out such assignment, which he described as unacceptable.
Consequently, according to a statement from Frank Mba, the Force PRO, the IGP has directed the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to conduct a discrete investigation into the incident, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
And in doing that, I hope, the searchlight for suspects should also be beamed on Her Lordship, Justice Mary Odili.