A group under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Justice and Equity (Coalition-JE), has taken a swipe on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, for what it described as his consistent disobedience to court orders.
The group said, “a situation whereby IGP Idris who is supposedly the Chief Law Enforcement Officer turns out to be the Chief Law Breaker with no respect for court orders, yet runs to the court for protection at every slightest opportunity is rather an aberration”.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a press briefing in Abuja, Friday, Comrade Olayemi Success, said the rate at which the Police boss disrespects court judgements, if not checked, would slide the country into a lawless state.
He specifically refered to a recent judgement given by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the federal high court, where the Nigerian Police was ordered to unseal the corporate headquarters of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), with immediate effect.
The office located at No 57 Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme way, opposite Jabi Lake, Jabi, Abuja, had been under lock and keys since 28th February, 2017, when security agencies clamped down on the Corps, arresting its National Commandant, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh and 49 others.
In his ruling on the 9th November, 2017, Justice Kolawole described the arrest, detention and sealing of the office as illegal and flagrant abuse of the rights of officers of the Corps, thereby awarding N12.5m cost against the police, in a human rights suit instituted by former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi, on behalf of the Corps.
Though the Nigeria Police had filed a notice of appeal against the said judgement, but the coalition felt, since there was no stay of execution order from the appellant court, the Police was supposed to obey the substantive order.
“As at the time we checked, there was no order for stay of execution of the judgement delivered in favour of Peace Corps of Nigeria.
“It, therefore, goes without saying that IGP Idris and his men have no legal basis to remain in occupation of a property which they ought to have unsealed over a month ago.
“We make bold to say that this action of IGP Idris is the reason behind the recent complaint coming from the Chief Justice of Nigeria that the executive arm of government has constituted itself into a clog in the wheel of justice by refusing to obey court judgements. This is rather unfortunate and worrisome”, the group said.
The group refered to a contempt of proceedings suit instituted against the IGP on Wednesday, 13th December 2017, by the Incorporated Trustees of the PCN, through Form 48, “for brazenly disregarding the orders of court”.
“Whilst we laud this bold and lawful step taken by Peace Corps of Nigeria, we wish to state clearly that we have been completely pushed to the wall and can no longer condone the show of shame by IGP Idris and his high level affront on the sacred powers of courts in Nigeria”, it added.
The group threatened to shut down Abuja next week by mobilising other civil society organisations, women, youths and students, “with a view to demanding for the immediate sack of the IGP, and that IGP and the Police be precluded by courts from instituting or continuing any legal proceedings in Nigeria court”.