The Nigeria Police has assured that the corporate headquarters of the Peace Corps of Nigeria currently under siege would be unsealed next week.
Commissioner of Police in charge of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Sodiq Bello, gave the assurance on Thursday, when officers of the Corps, led by its National Commandant, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, advanced to take possession of the office, as ordered by the court and later directed by the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on Public Petitions had on Tuesday directed the Police authorities to unseal the office within 48 hours in compliance with the judgments of Justices’ Gabriel Kolawole and John Isoho on the office sealed up since February 28, 2017.
However, the policemen met at the gate of the two-storey building claimed ignorance of the directive to vacate the office and instead alerted their superior officers on the development through phone calls and radio messages.
Not less than 5 hilux vans of the Anti-Riot police arrived the scene with shields and other gadgets to prevent the peace corps officers from accessing their office.
While the drama lasted, a detachment of police led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Okafor Mathew later arrived at the scene and was briefed by his men.
The ACP later spoke with the Peace Corps Boss privately and thereafter put phone calls to the FCT Commissioner of Police who requested to speak with the Peace Corps Commandant.
In the conversation that followed, the police pleaded with the Peace Corps to give them one week to comply with orders of the courts on the sealed house.
The Commandant was informed that the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris was away to Lagos to attend a National Programme and that he will give final order in respect of the court judgments next week, when he is expected to appear before the House of Representatives on same issue.
While briefing newsmen, the Peace Corps boss, Akoh, said he would not object to the plea of the Nigerian Police, saying, since the authorities did not approach the matter in the usual way of high handedness and that he would give them the benefit of doubt until next week.
Akoh said they were at the office to resume work in line with the directive of the House of Representatives.
He reiterated the commitment of his organization to be peaceful in the resolution of the log jam arising from the unlawful sealing of the office since last year.
Akoh explained that the office was rented at a fee of N13.5M per year, adding that a year had gone without accessing the office.
Earlier, an Abuja based lawyer and one of the Conveners of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Justice and Equity, Mr. Edward Omega had condemned police for the consistent disregard to lawful orders of courts.
He said that executive lawlessness and recklessness were unknown to law under democracy and pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the police to always obey laws so as to avoid anarchy.