A coalition of human rights groups Thursday in Abuja dragged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over his alleged persistent disobedience to court orders.
The civil groups, while protesting the action of Idris in treating court orders with levity and impunity asked the human rights commission in their petition to call Idris to order, so as not to truncate the country’s democracy through promotion of anarchy.
At the corporate headquarters of the Rights Commission, Abuja where the protest that lasted hours took place, conveners of the protest, Barrister Edward Omaga and Comrade Olayemi Success predicated their protest against the IGP on the continued siege on the head office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), since February 2017, despite two courts judgment against the police action.
The protesters, in their position papers presented to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr. Tony Okechukwu Ojukwu, warned that unless the IGP is called to order in the alleged flagrant disobedience to court orders, Nigeria as the biggest country in Africa might be turned to a banana nation, where the rule of law has no place.
The coalition, operating under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Justice and Equity informed the Human Rights Commission that a Federal High Court judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole on November 9, 2017 in a judgment declared the police siege on the Peace Corps office as reckless, illegal, unlawful and an infringement on the fundamental rights of the corps and ordered that the office be unsealed immediately.
The groups also recalled that another judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, on January 15, this year, in an action filed by the police gave a landmark judgment in which the police authority under Idris was ordered to vacate the Peace Corps’ office with immediate effect on the grounds that the police siege was unlawful.
Besides, the civil groups also told the rights commission that as a follow up to the two court’s judgment, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, wrote different letters to the IGP directing him to comply with the judgment but regretted that up till now, the IGP has not obeyed the court orders.
The groups further stated that the House of Representatives on May 9, 2018, after an investigation gave the IGP and the police 21 days ultimatum within which to comply with the court orders on peace corps and that at the end of expiration of the ultimatum and up till now, IGP, Idris was yet to obey the court orders.
“While the ultimatum by the House of Representatives lasted, we as law abiding groups and worried by the police action wrote letters to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, AGF and Minister of Youths and Sports, craving their indulgence to intervene in the matter to compel Idris to obey valid court judgment but up till now, the police has not deemed it fit and proper to respect the law.
“You will agree with us that disobedience to court judgment and constituted authority is a recipe for anarchy. We submit that the NHRC cannot stand aloof in this matter of recklessness act and illegality being perpetuated by the police must attract the attention of the highest authority.
“This monumental injustice perpetuated against the Peace Corps and the Nigerian youths by the police must be urgently redressed in accordance with the tenets of natural justice, rule of law and interest of nation’s democracy.
“Justice has been delayed long enough in this matter and we urged the commission to act now”.
The groups, therefore, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately drop IGP Idris as Nigeria’s police chief, adding that a situation where police as law keeper suddenly become law breaker cannot augur well for the nation.
The groups predicated their call for sack of Idris on the resolution of the Senate on May 9, 2018, where a vote of no confidence was passed on the IGP and was also declared as not only an enemy of democracy but totally unfit to hold any public office both in Nigeria and abroad.
Receiving the groups, Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr. Ojukwu pleaded with the groups to remain peaceful and law abiding, adding that in a couple of days, the commission would communicate them on their petition.
Ojukwu, who spoke through the Director Corporate Affairs, Mr Lambart Opara and deputy Director, Legal Services, Harry Obe, assured the groups that stakeholders in the dispute would be carried along for final resolution.