THE Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Monday said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should respect court orders directing Police to unseal the corporate Headquarters of the Peace Corps of Nigeria in Abuja, sealed up for about two years.
The appellate court held that it will be in the best interest of Nigerians that Police, as a law enforcement agency obeys lawful orders of the court.
Justice Stephen Adah made the remark while reacting to an allegation made by Dr Joshua Musa, counsel to the Peace Corps of Nigeria, that Police have not obeyed two others of the federal high court that the headquarters of the Corps be unsealed since 2017.
The senior lawyer complained to a three-man panel of the appellate court justices that the action of Police on the Peace Corps was worrisome because the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice had written Police twice directing them to comply with the high court orders and vacate the Peace Corps office.
Musa contended that the siege laid on Peace Corps office since February 28, 2017, has continued unabated and appealed to the Appeal Court to issue an order to compel Police to obey the orders of the high court and unseal the Peace Corps office before hearing the Appeal filed by the Police.
Justice Adah, who presided over an appeal filed by Police against the high court judgement delivered in favour of Peace Corps said that it is in the interest of peace and to avoid anarchy that Police should obey court orders.
However, the appeal by Police could not be heard yesterday because of multiple motions filed by Police and the Peace Corps over the issue.
While Police in one of the motions, is praying the Court of Appeal to stay the execution of judgment of Justice Gabriel Kolawole which declared the siege on Peace Corps as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and imposed a fine of N12.5million for an alleged unlawful act, the Peace Corps in its motion is urging the appellate court not to grant audience to Police until they have complied with the earlier order, directing them to unseal their office.
Justice Adah who said that the Appeal Court does not stay the execution of judgments adjourned the appeal by the Police till May 28 for hearing.
The federal high court had, in two different judgements delivered by Justices Gabriel Kolaqole and John Tsoho had, in 2018 ordered Police to vacate the corporate office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria on the grounds that the sealing up of the office was unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
While Justice Tsoho declined to give further audience to Police in respect of Peace Corps until his order is obeyed. Justice Kolawole, in his judgment, imposed a fine of N12.5 million on Police for acting in bad faith in respect of matters of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.