Drama As Police Deny Harassing Peace Corps Boss, Others

The Nigeria Police has denied harassing the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh and 49 other officers of the Corps.

In a counter affidavit dated 22nd March 2017, and deposed to, before a Federal High Court in Abuja; the Police also denied sealing off the National Headquarters and State offices of the Peace Corps.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Thursday, 16th March, 2017, issued a 12-day ultimatum to the Nigeria Police, to give reasons for the arrest, harassment and detention of Akoh and 49 others.

In a 20-paragraph counter affidavit submitted to the Court on Wednesday, 22nd March, and signed by one Sgt. Philip Tumba of a CID Unit, FCT Command, the Police alleged that the Peace Corps was “organizing military like training” for its officers.

“None of the applicants or any person whatsoever was manhandled, brutalized or harassed or intimidated by any of its personnel as falsely claimed.

“The Respondents did not invade or brutalized the applicants but only went to a suspected scene of crime in the lawful performance of its statutory duties to carry out investigation”, the counter affidavit reads in part.

While also denying the sealing off of the National office of Peace Corps, the Police said, ” the Respondents only cordoned a scene of crime to secure it for further and detail investigation”.

The Force totally disagreed with the affidavit submitted by the Incorporated Trustees of Peace Corps of Nigeria in support of its originating summon, that the rights of Akoh and the 49 others was trampled upon.

It could be recalled that, the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Security (DSS) raided the National Office of Peace Corps on Tuesday, 28th February, 2017, arresting the National Commandant, Akoh and 49 others.

They were allegedly detained at the Police facilities for 3 days, without food, water and the young nursing mothers among them were denied access to their babies, for the period of detention.

It was also reported that 6 of the Peace Corps Officers were allegedly tortured during the arrest and 3 were lying critically unconscious at the National Hospital, Abuja.

A visit to the Trauma Unit at the National Hospital by Journalists on Wednesday, 1st March, 2017 also confirmed the admission of those who sustained injuries from Police brutality.

Addressing Journalists at the National Hospital, the Spokesperson for the hospital management, Dr. Tayo Armstrong, said “in our investigation, we were told that they were working for Peace Corps, and that, the Police came to assault them, that’s why they sustained injuries.

“As a responsive hospital, we immediately admitted them into our trauma centre, so we could promptly attend to their health issues. As I speak to you, they are still in trauma centre”.

Irked by the seemingly violation of their rights, the Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, through former Attorney General of Nigeria, Kanu Agabi (SAN), dragged the Nigeria Police and DSS to Court, demanding for N2bn compensation.

In a swift reaction, the Nigeria Police also slammed the Peace Corps with a 90-count charge, demanding for N1.4bn.

The 2 suites are currently being heard by Justice Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

At the time of this report, The National Commandant who surrendered himself to Police had been in detention since last Sunday as all efforts by eminent Nigerians including legal practitioners to secure administrative bail for him from Police have been rebuffed. ELANZANEWS.M

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