Published On: Tue, May 16th, 2017

Pay Peace Corps N11m from police account, court orders CBN

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By Paschal Njoku, Abuja

Justice Sylvanus Oriji of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has issued a garnishee order attaching the money belonging to the Nigerian Police in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the purpose of settlement of judgment debt incurred by the police in a judgment against the force.
Justice Oriji issued the garnishee order upon an ex-parte motion argued on behalf of the Peace Corps of Nigeria by Barrister Joseph E. Chukwuma.
However, the CBN being the custodian of the garnishee has been ordered to appear before the court on May 24 to show cause why the garnishee order nisi shall not be made absolute.
Other judgment debtors ordered to come and show cause are the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The garnishee order directed the CBN to remove the sum of N11,270,000 from police account with number 0020054161043 maintained at the CBN to pay the Incorporated Trustees of Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) and its National Commandant, Ambassador, Dickson Akoh who secured the judgment against the Police
The court had in a judgment delivered against the police on March 26, 2014 awarded the judgement sum of N11.27million in favor of the Peace Corps and four of its officers.
Since then, the national commandant was said to have prevailed on his lawyers not to enforce the judgment in the interest of enhancing cordial relationship among his organization, police and other security agencies.
However, the board of Trustees of PCN had resolved to enforce all the existing judgments against police, in view of the continued harassment, arrest, detention and intimidation of officers and men of the Corps.
In an enrolled court order dated March 17, 2017, and signed by the judge and the court Senior Registrar, Mr. Akpabio Micheal Brown, the garnishee was issued so as to satisfy the judgment debt awarded against police and in favour of the creditors comprising Mr. Shuaib, Mr. Peter Ojoma and Miss Joy Obakachi.
The court had on 2014, declared that the directives, instructions, signals and orders issued to all police zones, officers and agents by police to ban and disrupt the activities of the Peace Corps were unlawful and unconstitutional.
The judgment held that Peace Corps was a bona-fide legal association duly authorized by law to carry out its functions with the aim of realizing its aims and objectives and that the seizure of its properties by police was also unlawful and unconstitutional.
In addition, the court had declared that the detention of the officers of the Peace Corps at the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Garki and Apo Legislative Quarters police station for a total of 29 days was unlawful and unconstitutional.
Consequently, a restraining order was issued by the court against the police from disrupting the lawful activities of the Peace Corps and also bans police from further arresting or detaining the PCN officials.
Apart from the restraining order, the court imposed a fine of N11.2m on police to be paid to the arrested and detained Peace Corps officers as compensation for the unjust, unlawful and unconstitutional police action against them.

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