Court fixes July 6 for ruling on right infringement suit by Peace Corps of Nigeria

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A federal high court sitting in Abuja has adjourned until 6th of July 2017 for judgment in the enforcement of fundamental human right suit filed by the incorporated trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and its national commandant, Dickson Akor against the police, the Department of State Security (DSS), and four other security agencies.

The judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date after taking arguments for and against the motion.

The Peace Corps of Nigeria contended that the rights of its national commandant, Dickson Akor and 49 others have been infringed upon following their alleged unlawful arrest and detention during a raid of the organization’s headquarters in Abuja on the 20th of February 2017 by a combined team of the police and the Department of State Security (DSS).

The corps appealed to the court to declare as illegal and unconstitutional the arrest of Mr Akor and other officers of the corps as well as the sealing up of its head office in Abuja and offices in the 36 states of the federation.

They also prayed the court to declare that the corps is entitled to fundamental right to acquire and own property, lawful assembly, and freedom of movement.

When the matter came up for hearing, one of the counsel to the applicants, Mr John Ochogwu said the primary objective of the Peace Corps of Nigeria was to maintain discipline in the society, and that the respondents were unable to substantiate their allegations against it.

Mr Ochogwu therefore prayed the court to grant their application.

“We are seeking to enforce our fundamental human rights. The applicants are legally registered lawful organization, and they are entitled to act in that regard.”

He said.

Counsel to the Nigerian Police Force and the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Igbodo said he had filed a counter affidavit in opposition of the application of the applicants and urged the court to dismiss the application as it lacked merit and was of no consequential order.

“Nobody is disputing the fact that Peace Corps of Nigeria was registered,”

He said.

“The fact that it is registered as an NGO does not confer immunity on the Peace Corps of Nigeria, neither does it confer immunity on the promoters.”

He added.

Counsel to the Department of State Security, its director general and the attorney general of the federation, Onyi Koleosho held that in view of Section 35 of the constitution, the arrest and detention could not be said to be unlawful having been made upon  a reasonable suspicion of committing a crime.

After listening to the arguments, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned the case until the 6th of July.

Mebeka Madu

Mebeka Madu is a news editor for ezeja and is based in Enugu. Contact Mebeka at mebeka@ezeja.com.

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