This was even as the House of Representatives also ordered the Peace Corps of Nigeria to immediately take possession of their office located at number 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme way, opposite Jabi Lake, Jabi, Abuja, which has been under siege by the Police since February 28th 2017.
The order was given on Tuesday, by the House Committee on Public Petitions, during the investigative hearing involving the IGP, the AGF, the Minister of Interior, Minister of Youths and Sports Development, the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh and members of the Civil Society Organizations.
Recall that, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Justice and Equity had on 25th January 2018, petitioned the House, accusing the IGP of flagrantly disobeying subsisting court orders in favour of the Peace Corps, making the House to mandate its committee on public petitions to interface between the parties concerned.
At the public hearing on Tuesday, the Peace Corps Boss, Akoh, told the committee that his organisation had secured 12 court judgements against the Police from various courts of competent jurisdictions, stressing the most recent judgements by Justice Gabriel Kolawole on the 9th November 2017 and Justice John Tsoho on 15th January 2018, asking the Police to vacate his office.
Akoh affirmed that, the office of the AGF had written 5 different letters to the office of the IGP, advising that outstanding judgements in favour of the Peace Corps be obeyed, “but the IGP always pays deaf ears to the advice”.
The National Commandant also tendered video evidence where it was alleged that IGP Idris vowed to frustrate the Peace Corps and make sure the Bill establishing it did not receive the assent of the President.
On his part, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of legal affairs, Henry Njoku, who represented the Nigerian Police, said the Force had instituted an appeal against the recent judgement of Justice Kolawole, urging the lawmakers to disregard the petition by the group.
Njoku also told the committee that his office needed time to study the documents, especially the annexes exhibited by the petitioners, saying he was only making “conditional appearance” on behalf of the Force.
When asked by the lawmakers why the AGF didn’t guide the IGP on obeying court orders, Barr A.O. Zibiri who represented the AGF, also corroborated what the Peace Corps Boss said, affirming that the AGF wrote to the IGP to obey court orders.
Responding, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Nkem Abonta, said it was wrong for the police to continue laying siege to the corporate headquarters of the Peace Corps, after courts of competent jurisdictions had ordered that they vacate the premises.
“From the happenings in the country, the Police has to sit up. The AGF seems to have records of all court proceedings, especially, anyone that concerns the government. The Police should not appeal against any judgement without consulting the AGF or seek the leave of the court to do so, because, it is tax payers money they would use.
“Except you are telling us that the Police is superior to court, if there is no stay of execution, the building should be unsealed. We would not sit down, fold our hands and allow the IGP to mess up the office of the AGF”, Hon Abonta said.
The lawmakers therefore resolved that, in addition to Peace Corps taking possession of their office, the IGP and the AGF should be compelled to appear before the committee within 7 days.