By Yemi Itodo
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) said it had secured a total of 11 judgements delivered at various courts in Nigeria against the Nigerian Police Force.
National Commandant of the Corps, Amb. Dr. Dickson Akoh, disclosed this on Tuesday, during the ongoing investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights.
Akoh said, at various rulings, the court awarded cost to the Police, running to millions of naira, adding that, the Corps had always urged its lawyers not to enforce the judgements, as the funds won’t come from the pocket of Police but the federal government.
He gave an instance of the garnishee order few weeks ago, where the Court asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deduct the sum of N11.2m from the police account, as judgement debt, in favor of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
Akoh disclosed that, aside the rulings of the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Justice Auta, that 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”.
Speaking further, the Peace Corps Boss, drew the attention of the Senate to another N2bn human rights suit currently before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of 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.
He told the Senate that, the 90-count charge filed against him by the Police came about, 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.
The Senate was, however, shocked when, Akoh revealed that, contrary to insinuations that, his organization was extorting money for award of ranks, it was actually the National Unity and Peace Corps under the leadership of Dr. Chinedu Nneji that was engaging in money-for-ranks deal, adding that, his organization only takes N40,000 for complete uniform and kits, training, feeding and medicare for one month orientation.
He submitted evidences of extortions by Dr. Nneji, which he claimed were parts of the 90-count charge erroneously preferred against him by the Police.
When asked why would the police allow the actual culprit to roam the street while he (Akoh) is being prosecuted, the Peace Corps Boss said the alliance between Nneji and the Police was strong, to the extent that, the IG approved 2 mobile Police men to guard him wherever he goes.
He accused the Police of grand conspiracy against the Corps and tendered evidences of one of the district meetings held at the instance of IGP Idris, 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 thorough investigation by the former IGP, that our organization is legal and does not constitute security threats.
“Also, in 2013, the ICPC conducted investigation into our activities, especially as it relates to the payment of N40,000 and came out with this report, that our organization was not fraudulent and that the charge was normal for the one month orientation exercise and other materials”.
On the allegation of confrontations, Akoh 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.
Meanwhile, the Commandant General of National Unity and Peace Corps (NUPEC), Dr. Chinedu Nneji, has described as untrue, the allegation that he was engaged in money-for-ranks deal, as leveled by Akoh.
When asked by Senator James Manager (Delta South) to react to the allegation, Dr. Nneji said his organization had never collected a penny from anyone before enlistment into the Corps.
He was, however, unable to defend himself when he was 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.
Newspaper publications, where he was addressing press that the Nigerian Senate had mandated him to be National Commandant of yet to be established Nigerian Peace Corps, were also exhibited at the Senate, which the committee Chairman, Senator David Umaru described as “embarrassing”.