Dickson Akoh has urged President Buhari to direct IGP Ibrahim Idris to unseal the Peace Corps headquarters.
The Peace Corps of Nigeria has urged President Muhammad Buhari to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to unseal its headquarters, in line with various court orders to that effect.
The Police had sealed the Peace Corps headquarters located at Jabi, Abuja during its opening on February 28, 2017.
Since then, the office has been under locks with Police vehicle and men of the Force on guard.
The Corps claimed it has secured “over fifteen valid court judgements against the Police” and other security agencies in Nigeria, which none has been appealed against.
The Police has, however, failed to vacate the facility, despite two subsisting court orders; resolution of the House of Representatives; the letter of authority from the Attorney-General of the Federation; the interventions from the civil society organisations and National Human Rights Commission.
Consequently, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, through a ruling, restrained the Police and IGP Idris from further harassing Akoh or prosecuting him on any ground, until all previous court judgements are obeyed.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, the Peace Corps national commandant, Dickson Akoh, said the organisation pays as much as N13.5m rent annually on the sealed office.
He said the youth-based group remains a non-confrontational and law abiding organisation and has explored all lawful means, including seeking political solutions to its ordeal, but to no avail.
“In view of the landmark ruling yesterday coupled with other previous judgements and the resolution of the House of Representatives, we wish to renew our appeal, as part of our last resort, to President Muhammadu Buhari, to please direct the Inspector General of Police to order his men to vacate the premises of the headquarters of our organisation in the interest of equity, fairness and justice.
“We are also appealing to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission, Civil Society Organisations, Human Rights Activists and other well-meaning Nigerians to urgently intervene in this regard, especially in prevailing on the Nigeria Police to respect the rule of law as a frontline Law Enforcement Agency”, Akoh pleaded.
He accused the Police and other security agencies of preventing President Buhari from signing the Peace Corps bill into law.
“The Police and its allies have achieved their overall intent which is to stop the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bill from seeing the light of the day. The clamp down and the purported charges against me and indeed this organisation were essentially to stop Mr President from assenting to the NPC Bill and stopping the Legislative Arm of Government from doing the needful”.
Akoh further stated that his organisation and his person have not committed any known crime under the laws of Nigeria, vowing to present himself for prosecution when the Police comply with court orders.
“We are ever ready to defend ourselves before any court of law as it is our wish to clear ourselves of any allegations.
“In a civilized society where the Rule of Law is supreme and respected by institutions of government and individuals, it is expected that the Police comply with valid Court Orders and subsequently come before the Court to prove its allegations against us, if any at all”.
The Peace Corps commandant expressed regrets, that, after securing over fifteen court judgements, “the Police and others have continued to clampdown on his organisation”, this, he said would only paint the country in bad light before the international community.
“The action of the IGP in disobeying valid court orders with brazen impunity and his selective victimization of innocent Nigerians must be quite disturbing to all lovers of democracy.
“The truth is that, he is only courting more enemies for this administration that is known for its strong aversion to all manner of impunities, which is injurious to our President, who is doing all that is humanly possible to place Nigeria on the path of economic and political recovery”, Akoh stated.
Meanwhile, IGP Idris has has begged an Abuja division of the Federal High Court to restrain the Senate from summoning him to personally appear for legislative hearings.
In the application, the IGP noted to the court that his personal appearance in front of lawmakers was unnecessary. He argued that if he appeared before lawmakers every time he gets summoned, he would have no time to attend to his responsibilities of securing the country.
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