The House of Representatives has ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Idris Ibrahim, to unseal and vacate the National Headquarters of Peace Corps of Nigeria within 21 days.
The order follows the recommendation by the House Committee on Public Petitions, which conducted investigative hearing into the “illegal” closure of Peace Corps facilities and the alleged disobedience to subsisting court orders to unseal the premises.
It would be recalled that the Peace Corps office, located at 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme Street, opposite Jabi Lake, Abuja, had been under lock and keys on the orders of the Inspector General of Police since February 28th, 2017, the day the office was commissioned.
It is also on note that Justice Gabriel Kolawole of Federal High Court, Abuja, had on the 9th November 2017, and ordered that the office be unsealed, while awarding N12.5m damages against the Police.
Also In a related development, Justice John Tsoho of another division of Federal High Court Abuja, had also, on the 15th January, 2018, given judgement that Police should vacate the Peace Corps office.
But in spite of these two others, none has been obeyed by the Police and the Police has not obtained any valid stay of execution even as its operatives and vehicles are permanently stationed at the premises.
In view of this, a group knowns as of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Justice and Equity, wrote a petition to the National Assembly, as it urged it wave into the matter in order “to save our democracy and insist on rule of law.”
While giving the report of the investigation of his committee on Wednesday, Chairman House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon. Nkem Abonta, said series of invitations were sent to the Inspector-General of Police to appear before the committee but he refused to honour.
Abonta also said, the committee obtained a document which showed that, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami wrote to the IGP and advised him to honour the subsisting court orders, “in absence of any appeal or valid stay of execution.”
He told the House that, a legal officer who represented the IGP at public hearing committed perjury, stressing that, “he lied under oath that there was a valid stay of execution”, but when time was given that he produced a proof of stay, he could not produce any.
Abonta expressed concern that, it would spell doom for Nigerian democracy and it would also give room to anarchy, if “an agency of the Federal Government (police) continues to disobey orders of the court.”
While adopting the recommendation of the committee, the House urged Police to comply with the subsisting court orders and the instruction from the AGF.
The police have 21 days from the commencement of Wednesday’s plenary, to vacate the properties of Peace Corps.