By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Malam Abubakar Malami has been asked to compel the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to obey lawful court orders directing police to unseal the corporate head office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was urged to use his position as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation to enthrone obedience to the rule of law by calling police to order from further displaying impunity.
National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Ambassador Dickson Akoh made the appeal in Abuja yesterday shortly after another court order directing the unsealing of office of his organization was pasted on the gate of the office for the attention of police and the general public.
The enrolled order signed by Justice John Tsoho and the Registrar Mr. Olawale Oladoyin dated January 17, 2018 read in part “It is hereby ordered that the Complainant/Respondent shall unseal the Applicants’ Headquarters located at No. 57 Iya Abubakar Crescent, Off Alex Ekwueme way opposite Jabi Lake, Jabi FCT, Abuja sealed since the 28th day of February, 2017.
“That the Nigeria Police and any other Security Agency laying siege on the Applicants’ Headquarters shall immediately vacate the building and hand over possession to the 2ndApplicant.
Akoh said that the continued closure of the corporate head office of the Peace Corps by police in spite of two separate court orders was an affront to the rule of law and a direct invitation to anarchy for the society.
He contended that police having failed to secure order of a federal high court in Abuja in its own motion on notice has no moral or legal right to refuse to unseal the office.
The Peace Corps Chief remarked that the orders of the courts have settled the matter that the Peace Corps is a lawful body engaging in lawful activities in line with the provisions of its mandate.
“It is now crystal clear that the action of police was aimed at tarnishing the image of the Peace Corps because of its bill now on the table of President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, having been passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives”.
“Police cannot say that we are carrying out any unlawful act in the office because, they have not allowed us to make use of the office for one day. It was sealed on February 28, 2017 during its official commissioning, Akoh said.
I am appealing to our AGF, well-meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies to prevail on police to stop taking laws into their own hand.
“It is irritating and indeed an insult to the nation for the police as an institution with mandate to enforce law and order to come to the open and announce that it will not obey the lawful orders from the court of records”.
“The AGF must rise to this challenge. No agency of government including police is above the law.
“The AGF must compel the Inspector General of police to respect the institution of the judiciary by obeying the courts in the interest of justice, fair play and the rule of law.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the federal high court had in November last year ordered police to vacate the office of the Peace Corps but the order was yet to be complied with.
Another Judge of the court John Tsoho on January 15, 2018 dismissed the police motion seeking for an order to seal the office almost a year after the police had taken over the office located at Jabi District of Abuja.
Justice Tsoho had instead ordered police to immediately vacate the office and hand over the possession to the authorities of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.