Court frustrates IGP’s bid to stop contempt charge by Peace Corps

IGP Ibrahim Idris

THE Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday, lost in his bid to stop the contempt charge brought against him by the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) for allegedly flouting court orders.

Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in a ruling yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the IGP against his personal appearance before the court.

The Judge, in the ruling, ordered the Police boss to be in court on March 13, 2018 to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for his disobedience to the lawful order of the court made on March 26, 2014 stopping the Police from interfering with the activities of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.

In his preliminary objection against the contempt charge argued by his counsel, David Igbodo, the IGP claimed that he was not personally served with form 48 in relation to the contempt charge.

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He prayed the court to void the contempt charge and set it aside on the ground that the form 48, summoning him to appear in court was served on the commissioner of Police in charge of legal matters at the Force Headquarters.

But Justice Oriji in his ruling said the IGP was employing technicality and delay tactics to frustrate the charge against him.

The Judge imposed a fine of N25,000 on the IGP and ordered him to personally appear in court on the adjourned date.

The Peace Corps of Nigeria through its counsel, Dr Joshua Yakubu Musa (SAN) had approached the Abuja High Court, praying it to commit the IGP, Ibrahim Idris to prison for two years for flouting the judgment of the court delivered on March 26, 2014.

He submitted that, in spite of the restraining order against Police not to interfere with operations of the Peace Corps, the Police have refused to obey the court order and went ahead to seal up its head office, among others.

The council claimed that since March 26, 2014, when the court judgment was delivered, the Police have neither appealed against the judgment or allowed the rule of law to prevail.

In the 2014 judgment, Police was fined N12.5 million as compensation for the principal officers and men of the Peace Corps who were arbitrarily arrested across the country and detained in various cells.

The prescription order placed on the Corps by Police was also voided and set aside by the court in the 2014 judgment on the ground that the defendants (Police) have no power under the law to ban or prescribe any organization, including the Peace Corps that is lawfully registered by the federal government as a youth organization.

It will be recalled that a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN) had filed another contempt charge against the Police boss for disobeying the Federal High Court order that Police should unseal the Peace Corps office in Abuja.

The new judgment was delivered by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.

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