Court fixes July 6 for judgment on Peace Corp’s N2bn suit against Police
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday fixed July 6 to deliver judgment in the N2 billion fundamental human rights suit filed by the Peace Corps of Nigeria against the Nigeria Police and others.
The respondents in the suit are: the Police, Inspector- General of Police, National Security Adviser, Department of State Security, and its Director-General and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Peace Corps has dragged the police and the others to court over the unlawful arrest and detention of its National Commandant, Dickson Akoh and 49 others after a raid on the organisation’s headquarters in Abuja on Feb 28.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to Peace Corp, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged the court to declare as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional the arrest of Akoh and other officers of the Corps.
He also asked the court to declare that under the 1999 Constitution as amended, they had not committed any offence to warrant their arrest, detention and sealing up of their offices across the country as done by the defendants.
Agabi said the respondents accepted that the Peace Corp was a legitimate organisation and that what was in contention was that the organisation was currently operating beyond its mandate.
He further said that the police investigation report stated that the activities of the Corps were legal and also the judgment of Justice Umar, a retired judge of the Federal High Court, had also stated that their activities were legal.
Opposing the application, counsel to the Police and IGP, David Igbodo, said one of their counter-affidavits was a 90-count charge bordering on money laundering and engaging in illegal activities by the applicant.
He said that the fact that the Peace Corp was a registered organisation was not in dispute but that the Peace Corp was operating outside its mandate as registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
He added that Peace Corp was registered under Part C of Karma as an NGO and if an NGO was found committing crimes, it did not enjoy immunity as it could be investigated and prosecuted by the police.
Igbodo urged the court to dismiss the application, adding that it was a mere academic exercise.
Counsel to the 4th to 6th defendant, Onyi Koleosho, while opposing, said the arrest and detention of the applicant could not be said to be unlawful having been made upon reasonable suspicion of committing a crime.
He further said a criminal charge had been brought against the applicants and the detention of the applicants did not exceed 48 hours therefore, it could not be said to be unlawful.
Koleosho stated that the applicants had not shown that the registration of Akoh with the Corporate Affairs Commission entitled him to engage in the recruitment of people, collection of fees, training activities and wearing of uniforms.
He added that the applicants had not exhibited a constitution duly registered with the CAC which would have shown the object to what they are claiming before the court.
After listening to all arguments, the Judge adjourned the matter to July 6 to deliver judgment. (NAN)