Officers of the Nigerian police have allegedly carted away at least 10 television sets from the unsealed headquarters of the Nigerian Peace Corps during their stay.
The headquarters of the Corps located at number 15, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme Street, Jabi, Abuja, was sealed off on the orders of the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, the same day it was commissioned on February 28, 2017.
Three years after the office was sealed, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, last week ordered that the office be unsealed, with immediate effect.
Taking journalists round the facility on Thursday morning, the commandant of the corps, Dickson Akoh, said many of their belongings were carted away.
He, however, said he would not join issues with the police and so had decided to move on. He said he has officially written to the police authorities.
Other items allegedly stolen were laptops, CCTV equipment, generator parts, diesel and many more.
Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, did not pick his calls or respond to enquiries via text message on the matter.
Mr. Akoh in his briefing said the corps has lost over N120 million, being damage to the physical infrastructure of the office.
“This morning, I decided to be here to inspect and assess the extent of damages that have been done to this facility. For what you can also see with me, I can authoritatively say that we have lost over N120 million, being damage done to the physical infrastructure, furniture and state-of-the-art equipment installed here before the commissioning.”
“In addition, the gross misrepresentation, misconception and the psychological damages done to our members nationwide cannot be monetarily quantified,” he said.
“We have collectively resolved to put the past challenges behind us and remain focused on how to embark on confidence-building and institutional synergy with the police and other relevant agencies in the spirit of patriotism.
“I wish to state at this point that, this organisation and its leadership bear no grudges or animosity against any agency or individual. Thus, our predicaments in the past three years are seen as an act of God and a sacrifice or a price that we have to pay in the task of nation-building.”
He commended Mr Malami for giving the directive and the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, for complying accordingly.
LONG ROAD TO JUSTICE
After the police siege to the corps office, its commandant dragged the police before a federal high court.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in a judgement delivered on November 9, 2017, upheld the legality of PCN and declared the action of the police as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
Consequently, the court ordered the security agency to unseal the headquarters and went further to award damages to the tune of N11.5 million against the police.
Also, a ruling on a motion on notice delivered by Justice John Tsoho, who is now the Chief Justice of Federal High Court, on January 15, 2018, said the office be unsealed.
The House of Representatives, had also, in a resolution in 2018, after summoning former IGP Idris in an investigative hearing, ordered that the Peace Corps office be unsealed while condemning the incessant harassment of members and officers of the Corps.
Mr Malami, based on the development, advised IGP Idris via a letter in March 2018 to obey the subsisting court orders standing against the police, and unseal the PCN office, “in the absence of any pending appeal or stay of execution”. But the police remained adamant.
Relying on section 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, former AGF, Chief Kanu Agabi, in one of his letters to Mr Malami January 16, 2020, urged the AGF to direct the police boss, who is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer, “to comply with the subsisting and valid orders of various courts of competent jurisdiction herein attached in respect of this matter but not limited to the unsealing of our client’s offices nationwide”.
The Peace Corps has been having running battles with the police and other security agencies, winning all the 15 legal actions instituted against it with over N50 million standing against various agencies as cost awarded in favour of the Corps.
According to reports, Mr Adamu, at the annual conference of the police lawyers held at Force Headquarters Abuja recently, had warned of the increasing judgment debts against the police and asked the lawyers to ensure at all times that court orders are obeyed and enforced and that constitutional rights of suspect and citizens are protected.