Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) has prayed acting President Yemi Osinbajo to compel the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to unseal its corporate head office which had been under locks since February 28, 2017, allegedly without a lawful order.
In a letter dated August 13, 2018, the Corps wanted the Presidency to direct police authorities to respect the rule of law and obey court orders directing them to vacate the office located at No. 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, Abuja.
The letter, written by Ahmed Jimoh, on behalf of Peace Corps, informed Osinbajo of the two subsisting judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which ordered police to unseal the office, but was not obeyed till date.
The letter, entitled: ‘Appeal to Mr. President to compel Police to respect rule of law on Peace Corps of Nigeria’, intimated the Presidency that the Corps as a uniform youth organisation engaging in youth development, nation building, patriotism and neighborhood watch, has been made to suffer untold hardships by the action of Police in sealing up the office unlawfully.
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The lawyer recalled that Justices Gabriel Kolawole and John Tsoho had, at different times, in their judgments, issued orders to the Police directing them to unseal the office in the interest of justice and fair play.
Jimoh, however, noted with regret that Police rather than obeyed the court orders, chose to remain adamant by blocking the entrance to the office with a heavy truck and stationed many of its men to prevent the officers and men of the Corps from accessing the office as directed by court.
He also informed the Presidency that the flagrant disobedience to court orders and utter disregard to the rule of law by the Police, run counter to the tenets of democracy, warning that Police actions are capable of causing anarchy in the country.
The Corps warned that the use of naked powers and oppression against the youths in the Peace Corps of Nigeria, who are being prepared for a bright future, were capable of spelling doom for the nation and therefore urged the Presidency to passionately wade into the matter and order Police to vacate the office.
Jimoh stated that the attitude of Police in the matter of Peace Corps was worrisome because the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, being the Chief Legal Officer, had twice written the Inspector General of Police on the need to obey court order in the matter of Corps, but that the two letters were treated with levity by the Police and continued their deliberate and willful disobedience to valid court orders.
Besides, Jimoh also drew the attention of the Presidency to the order of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions to Police to vacate the office based on petitions by the Coalition of Civil Society Organisation for Justice and Equity, adding that till date, the Police have chosen to close their eyes against natural justice and opted to take laws into their hands.
The letter, therefore, pleaded with the Presidency to compel the Police to allow the Peace Corps to access their office and property as ordered in the two court judgments.
The letter, copied the Nigerian Police Council, AGF, Police Service Commission and the IGP, read in part: “Your Excellency, with due respect, it is my humble submission that the respect for the rule of law in a democratic system of government as that of Nigeria is the very foundation for any democracy and where an agency of government such as Police has chosen to consistently act in total disregard for court judgments, then the legitimacy of the government becomes doubtful”.
“Also, Your Excellency, it is my humble submission that where the rule of law is sacrificed for the rule by whims and caprices, such situation is a war against the supremacy of the Constitution.
“I also submit that the attitude and conduct of the Nigerian Police and IGP against Peace Corps, if allowed to be continued, would have much harms on the development of this nation than can be imagined.
“I humbly appeal to Your Excellency to compel and or order the Nigeria Police Force and the IGP to obey the judgments of courts in favour of Peace Corps with immediate effect and to also sanction the IGP, who has unlawfully and illegally continue to violate and disobey the valid and subsisting court orders without any reason allowed by law”.