Peace Corps N2bn Human Rights Suit: Judge bemoans absence of Police Counsel

By Yemi Itodo

The Judge presiding over the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement suit instituted by the Peace Corps of Nigeria, against the Nigerian Police, the Inspector-General of Police and others, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, has adjourned till 15th May, 2017, to allow commencement of hearing of the substantive originating summon.

Peace Corps, had, through its lead Counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), slammed a suit against the Police and joined the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President and others, demanding for the sum of N2bn as demage.

It could be recalled that, the national office of the Peace Corps was raided by the Police on the 28th February, 2017, where the National Commandant, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh and 49 other officers were arrested and detained for 3 days at the Force Headquarters.

Akoh had also, during a media chat, accused the Nigerian Police of “high handedness”, saying some nursing mothers among the Officers were also detained by the Police for 3 days without food and water, and without access to their babies.

The Corps therefore, filed an originating summon, wherein, an order was sought, to restrain the Police and its agents, from further harassing her members.

Chief Agabi is also seeking an order, to compel the Police to unseal the offices of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and to further stop infringing on the rights of the members.

Nigeria Police and Inspector General of Police, who are 1st and 2nd respondents in the suit, however, refused to make appearance in court.

When the matter was mentioned on Thursday, Counsel to the Attorney-General, T.D. Agber, said he got instructions from the NSA to also represent him in the suit and as such, needed time to file a counter affidavit to the originating summon, on his behalf and also regularise the brief of the AGF.

In his ruling, Justice Kolawole granted the application and adjourned hearing on the originating summon till May 15th.

He, however, requested that the Defendants Counsel should regularise his processes and file necessary brief within 5 days, the counting of days, he said, should not include Monday, May 1st.

Kolawole also bemoaned the absence of Counsels to the Nigerian Police and the Inspector-General of Police, whom he described as “principal antagonists of the applicant”, adding that the ruling from the court should be served to them, to enable them make appearances in the next adjourned date.

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