Civil Society Groups Unseal Peace Corps House, Abuja

A coalition of civil groups in Abuja, Thursday, enforced the judgment of a Federal High Court against the Nigerian Police, by unsealing the corporate head office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria in compliance with the court order.
The Peace Corps house, had been sealed by Police since February, this year but Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, in a judgment of November 9, ordered police to unseal and vacate the office with immediate effect.
The Judge also imposed a fine of N12.5m on the police for breaching the fundamental rights of the Peace Corps National Commandant, Ambassador Dickson Akoh and 49 others with unlawful arrest and detention without court order.
However, following the refusal of police to obey the court order, the civil groups stormed the headquarters of the Peace Corps at No. 59, Iya Abubakar Crescent, Abuja, Thursday and forced the office open.
Led by a legal practitioner and President of Lawyer Integrity Crusade Network,. Edward Omaga, the groups armed with the court order told the police, who barricaded the gate, that they were there to enforce a valid court order.
Without much resistance, an unmarked Honda Bullet car used by police to block the gate since February this year when police took over the office was pushed to another location by the police officers.
While the groups were in the premises of the Peace Corps house, one of the police officers contacted the Federal Capital Territory command on phone on the development leading to deployment of about 100 fully armed to the scene.
The armed policemen led by an Assistant Police Commissioner, Danlami Yusuf Taura, on arrival summoned the leader of the civil groups for explanation on their mission and were told by Omaga that they were there to enforce a lawful court order.
To justify their action, the leader of the groups presented a copy of the court order to the police boss and also drew his attention to another copy pasted on the gate of the Peace Corps house by authorities of the Federal High Court.
ACP Taura attempted to defend police with a claim that they have up to seven days grace to unseal the office but Omaga drew his attention to a portion of the court order that police must vacate immediately.
Another claim by the ACP that the Commissioner of Police in charge of the FCT command had not been served with the court order was also punctured by Omaga, who drew his attention to the acknowledgement of the service of the court order on the Inspector General of the Police.
At the time of this report, there was no fracas between the groups and the police.
Omaga, while thanking his colleagues for their courage in defending the rule of law, announced publicly that the Peace Corps house has been unsealed in compliance with the court order and that officials and the workers of the corps are expected to resume work in the office Friday unhindered.

Author: News Editor

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