A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered that the various accounts of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) be unfreezed, with immediate effect.
The Nigerian Police had, shortly after arresting the National Commandant of the Corps, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh and 49 others on February 28th 2017, frozen about 24 accounts spread across various commercial banks in Nigeria, belonging to members of the Trustees and Officers of the PCN.
However, the Police approached the court on June 23rd with an experte motion, to seek the court’s backing on the already frozen accounts.
Peace Corps of Nigeria therefore, filed a motion on notice, on the 5th of July 2017, accompanied by 28 paragraph affidavit, urging the court to declare null and void, the ‘post no bill’ on the various accounts of its members.
While the matter was ongoing at the Federal High Court, the Police also sought for and obtained a preliminary injunction from a Magistrate Court in Wuse zone 6, Abuja, even as it also got same injunction from the Federal High Court.
However, in his ruling on the motion on notice of 5th July by the PCN, Justice John Tsoho, set aside the preliminary injunctions earlier granted by his court and the Magistrate Court in Wuse.
Justice Tsoho frowned at the rationale behind filing such applications in two different courts of competent jurisdictions.
“The order from the Magistrate Court and this Honourable court have the same effect”, Tsoho said, describing it as “an abuse of court process”.
On the argument that the Police had “illegally” frozen the Peace Corps accounts long before seeking an injunction in the court, Justice Tsoho said, the Police did not deny the applicant’s submission.
Justice Tsoho also lambasted the counsel to the Nigerian Police, Barrister Idachaba, for continuing to file motions when the matter had already been taken up by the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He said, “The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and holds the right to prosecute state matters.
“The motion filed by Idachaba (Esq.) did not have the support of the Attorney-General of the Federation and it is tantamount to abuse of court process”.
Justice Tsoho said, “a situation whereby, a criminal charge is being prosecuted by the Counsel assigned by the AGF and Idachaba also comes up to prosecute some motions in respect of the suit is highly complicated and confusing”.
He, therefore, gave the Attorney-General of the Federation up to the next adjourned date, to clarify the misconceptions on the appropriate channel of services by the parties involved in the matter.
Reacting to the judgement, Barrister Ofem Obeten of Kanu Agabi’s chamber said the judgement was in order.
He disclosed that, out of the 24 accounts frozen by the Police, only 2 of them were related to the 90-count charge instituted against the PCN.
On his part, the National Commandant of the Corps, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, said “the court has just vindicated the Peace Corps of Nigeria and its Officers”.
“Since February 28th when our office was sealed off and our accounts frozen, we have been living on charity. Thank God we have been vindicated today,” Akoh exclaimed.
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