By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, yesterday, said that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), should respect court orders mandating Police to unseal the corporate head of office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria in Abuja, sealed up about two years.
The siege laid in Peace Corps office since February 28, 2017, by the Police has continued unabated, defiling the order of two courts of the lower court.
While Justice John Tsoho declined to give further audience to Police in respect of Peace Corps until his order is obeyed, Justice Gabriel 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.
The three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, said that it is in the best interest of Nigerians that Police, as a law enforcement agency us obeying lawful orders of court.
When the matter was called up, counsel to the Peace Corps of Nigeria Dr. Joshua Musa, complaint to the court that Police have not obeyed two others of the federal high court that the headquaters of the Corps
be unsealed since 2017.
He posited 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 for the owners to occupy.
The appellant, therefore, 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 giving Police audience.
Delivering the ruling, the appeal court 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 headed because of multiple motions filed by Police and the Peace Corps over the issue.
In one of the motions, the Police 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.
In another motion, the Peace Corps is urging the appellate court not to grant audience to Police until they have complied with the earlier order, directing them to unseal the office.
Justice Adah who said that the Appeal Court does not stay 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 Kolawole 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.