The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court will on July 6 rule on a N2 billion fundamental rights suit brought before it by a non-governmental organisation, Peace Corps of Nigeria, against security operatives in the country.
The court, presided by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, gave the date on Wednesday after taking arguments from counsel on the matter.
Peace Corps had in its suit requested that the court declares as illegal, unconstitutional and malicious, the sealing off of its office located in the Federal Capital Territory by security operatives after a raid on the office in February.
The organisation, in its suit filed by Kanu Agabi, a former Attorney General of the Federation, prayed the court to declare the arrest of the organization’s executive director, Dickson Akoh, as well as the sealing off of its office as illegal.
Respondents in the suit include the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, the Director-General of the State Security Service, Lawal Daura, and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
According to the applicants, the arrest of Mr. Akoh, and sealing off of the Peace Corps office amounts to an abuse of their rights as enshrined in the constitution.
At the opening of session on Wednesday, counsel representing the IGP, David Igbodo, said the respondents was not disputing the applicant’s right to operate as a non-governmental agency, but that it should remain as such.
“Nobody is disputing the fact that Peace Corps is an NGO. It should operate as an NGO, not try to operate as a security outfit,” said Mr. Igbodo, praying the court to dismiss the application in its entirety.
Responding however, counsel who represented the applicants in court, John Ochogwu, said his client had never operated as a security outfit.
“We have never acted as a security outfit; they have no evidence to support that claim, if they do, let them bring it forth,” said Mr. Ochogwu, during an interview with journalists after the court hearing.
Mr. Ochogwu said the organisation is a lawful body and that the respondents had acted against the constitutional rights of Peace Corps as an organisation, despite court rulings.
He therefore prayed the court to allow the application.
Peace Corps, through its application, is demanding N2 billion in damages from the respondents for the alleged breach of their fundamental rights.