Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:00 am
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) told the Senate on Wednesday that it had secured 11 judgments against the Police at various courts in Nigeria in its battle against the law enforcement agency.
Dickson Akoh, National Commandant of the Corps, Amb. Dr. Dickson Akoh, disclosed this on Tuesday while testifying at the ongoing investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights on the clashes between the Police and the Corps.
According to Akoh, the Corps has been awarded costs running into millions of naira against the Police in the various judgments.
But he noted that the Corps had always urged its lawyers not to enforce the judgments since the funds will ultimately come from the purse of the federal government.
Akoh cited a garnishee order granted by a Court a few weeks ago in which the Central Bank of Nigeria was mandated to deduct the sum of N11.2m from the police account, as judgment debt, in favour of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
He added that following a ruling by the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Justice Auta that the Police should stop harassing the Corps, “the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, also wrote series of letters to the security agencies, advising them to leave us alone, citing many court judgements and debts standing against them in court”.
Akoh also draws attention of the Committee the N2bn human rights suit he filed against the Police at the Federal High Court, Abuja, which was instituted through the former AGF, Kanu Agabi, when the Police detained him and 49 others, including young nursing mothers, for days.
But he noted that the Police filed a 90-count charge against him when, after the raid and nothing incriminating was found against him, the Police went to the bank and printed the statement of account of the Incorporated Trustees of the Peace Corps and his personal account.
“Part of the 90-count charge of the police you are hearing is the salaries paid into my account while I was Principal Staff Officer to the Governor of Benue State before I resigned.
“The N40,000 voluntarily paid into the Trustees account by youths willing to be trained and all monies paid to our Contractors handling supplies of materials needed by the Corps, are all count charges”, Akoh said.
Akoh also denied Police claim that the Corps was extorting money for an award of ranks.
Rather, he said it was actually the National Unity and Peace Corps that was engaging in a money-for-ranks deal, adding that, his organisation only takes N40, 000 for complete uniform and kits, training, feeding and Medicare for one month orientation.
The Peace Corps Boss accused the Police of grand conspiracy against the Corps and tendered evidences of one of the meetings held at the instance of the Inspector General of Police where he allegedly sworn in the name of Allah to make sure President Buhari did not sign the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill into law.
Akoh disclosed that “the Nigerian Police had issued series of reports in the past, after a thorough investigation by the former IGP, that our organisation is legal and does not constitute security threats.
“Also, in 2013, the ICPC conducted an investigation into our activities, especially as it relates to the payment of N40,000 and came out with this report, that our organisation was not fraudulent and that the charge was normal for the one-month orientation exercise and other materials”.
Akoh also said the activities of the Corps do not in any way conflict with other security agencies, saying “Peace Corps is not a security outfit, but a youth based organization with activities in educational institutions only”.
“We don’t bear arms, we don’t arrest or prosecute criminals. I don’t know where the conflict or allegation of confrontations is coming from, but I know it did not start with us. Police did same to Road Safety, Civil Defence and other agencies that were established before now”, Akoh submitted.
But the Commandant General of National Unity and Peace Corps (NUPEC), Dr. Chinedu Nneji denied allegation that he was engaged in money-for-ranks deal, as leveled by Akoh.
Nneji said his organization had never collected a penny from anyone before enlistment into the Corps.
He was however confronted with the allegation that he had changed the name of his organization to Nigerian Peace Corps, with website, signposts and identity card bearing same, even when the Senate was not done with the bill yet.
To back up the claim, newspaper publications, where he was reported to have said the Senate had mandated him to be National Commandant of Nigerian Peace Corps, were also exhibited.