Update: Court discharges Peace Corps commandant

Update: Court discharges Peace Corps commandant

- A Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged the national commandant of the Peace Corps, Dickson Akoh

- Akoh was facing 13-count charges bordering on extortion and money laundering

The national commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, was on Tuesday, June 12, discharged of the 13-count criminal charges prefered against him by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotum Idris.

The Nigeria Police had, in March 2017, slammed Akoh with a 90-count charge but later amended it to 13-count charge, after it was observed that most of the charges were repetitive.

Legit.ng gathered that Justice John Tsoho, while ruling on a motion of notice filed by Barrister John Ochogwu, on behalf of Kanu Agabi Chamber, described the action of the Police asn"impunity", saying the Police authority lacks moral justification to prosecute Akoh in the criminal matter, until the Police Boss obeys subsisting court orders emanating from the suit.

Ochogwu, had, during a debate on the motion May 8, said "A defendant should be allowed time and facilities to defend himself. The office and some of the facilities of the defendant have been under lock since 1 year and 2 months.

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There is no way the defendant can defend himself when his facilities have been seized by the complainant".

Ochogwu submitted that, section 287 of the constitution empowers the court to enforce her own judgements, adding that, when prayers in the motion are granted, it would "serve as a deterrent to the executive or other arm of government which tend to disobey the orders of the court".

Justice Tsoho in his ruling, berrated the Police Boss for disobeying "orders of court of competent jurisdiction", adding that, "The act of the complainant/respondent is a flagrant abuse of the fundamental rights of the defendant/applicant".

The judge asked Akoh to go home, until when the Police and the IGP are ready to obey court orders and unseal Peace Corps office.

"Justice is not for one party, justice is a multi edges sword. This court is mindful of Ochogwu's written address, where he stated that, according to section 36(6b) of the 1999 constitution, that a defendant is entitled to adequate time and facilities to defend himself.

"If the complainant wishes to continue with the matter, he should be ready to obey court orders. No person or institution should be seen to be above the law.

"This case will continue when concrete evidences are shown that the complainant has obeyed subsisting court judgements", Justice Tsoho ruled.

It will be recalled that, the Police clamped down on the Peace Corps of Nigeria on February 28th, 2017, arresting the National Commandant and 49 others, while sealing off the National Headquarters located at Jabi, Abuja.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, however, had ruled in November 2017, asking the Police to unseal the facilities of Peace Corps of Nigeria, while awarding N12.5m damages against the Police.

Also, Justice John Tsoho in a separate suit, delivered judgement on 15th January, 2018, that the National Headquarters of Peace Corps be unsealed.

None of the judgements was obeyed and no valid stay of execution was obtained by the Police.

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, had also, in February 2018, ordered that the Police Boss obeyed the subsisting court orders and unseal the office, but the complex, which has been under siege since February 28th 2017, has remained as such till date.

This was even as the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had written to the the Police Boss, advising him to obey court orders and unseal the office, "in absence of any appeal or valid stay of execution".

The office, which the Peace Corps Commandant claimed to be paying N13.5m rent annually, is still under lock and keys with heavy presence of Police personnel and trucks.

Reacting to the ruling, the Peace Corps Boss, Akoh, said the court has clearly shown that it is the last hope of the common man.

Akoh said: "the Police knew they had nothing against us, they were only witchhunting us because they didn't want the President to sign the Peace Corps Bill. They were not prosecuting me, but they were persecuting me, we have been vindicated".

He, however, said he was not afraid of being prosecuted, adding that, he had enough materials to defend himself, but the Police should unseal his facilities and allow him have access to his materials for defence.

Neither the Police nor its counsel was at the court on Tuesday.

It was earlier reported that the trial of Peace Corps commandant, Dickson Akoh, on charges of extortion was on Tuesday, June 11, adjourned indefinitely by the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Justice John Tsoho, the judge, said the decision was because the police have refused to obey a previous ruling on the matter.

Akoh, who was present at the hearing, is facing trial on allegations of fraud brought against him by the Nigeria Police Force.

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But the judge, John Tsoho, in a ruling delivered in January faulted the prosecution for approaching the court after acting without regard to the rule of law.

Legit.ng previously reported that presidential aspirant under National Conscience Party (NCP), Thomas Ikugbese, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider signing of Peace Corps of Nigeria bill into law.

The Nation reports the non-signing of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) bill by President Muhammad Buhari is generating ripples among stakeholders especially youths in Ondo state.

He said the establishment of the Peace Corps would have facilitated employment for the teeming youths in the country.

If any police officer misbehaves with you, call any of these numbers - on Legit.ng.

Source: Legit.ng

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