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9 May 2018

Police Charged To Unseal Peace Corps Headquarters

The House of Representatives has adopted a report by its Committee on Public Petition recommending the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Idris Ibrahim, be asked to unseal the national headquarters of Peace Corps of Nigeria in Abuja.
The House wants the office to be reopened within 21 days.

The house committee submitted the report after an investigative hearing into the “illegal” closure of Peace Corps office and the disobedience of the Nigeria police to subsisting court orders to unseal the premises.

The office located at 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme Street, opposite Jabi lake, Abuja, has been sealed up by the police since February 28, 2017, the day it was commissioned.

A federal high court on November 9, 2017 ordered the office be unsealed and awarded N12.5million in damages against the police.

Another division of Federal High Court in Abuja also on January 15, 2018 ordered the police to leave the office immediately.

The police have however disregarded the court orders as their operatives and vehicles are permanently stationed at the premises.

A group, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Justice and Equity, later petitioned the House of Representatives on the issue, urging it to intervene in order “to save our democracy and insist on rule of law”.

Presenting the report of the investigation to the plenary on Wednesday, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions, Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia), said the Inspector-General of Police refused to honour a series of invitations to appear before the committee but sent a legal officer to the public hearing.

Mr Abonta also said the committee obtained a document which showed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami wrote to the IGP and advised him to honour the subsisting court orders, “in absence of any appeal or valid stay of execution”.

He told the House that the legal officer who represented the IGP at the public hearing committed perjury, stressing that, “he lied under oath that there was a valid stay of execution”, but when time was given that he produced a proof of stay, he could not produce any.

Mr Abonta said it would spell doom for Nigerian democracy and also give room to anarchy, if “an agency of the Federal Government (police) continues to disobey orders of the court”.

While adopting the recommendation of the committee, the House urged the police to comply with the subsisting court orders and the advice by the AGF.

The House gave the police 21 days from the commencement of Wednesday’s plenary to vacate the properties of Peace Corps.

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