Peace Corps Nigeria (PCN) has faulted a statement describing its organisation as illegal by the Nigeria Police Force public relations officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, saying the police lacks the power to proscribe any registered organisation.
The public relations officer of PCN, Millicent Umoru, told newsmen that the allegation is an outright falsehood which is targeted at tarnishing the decent name the organisation has earned both national and internationally.
Umoru stated that the so called proscription of the Corps that Moshood alluded was a mere pronouncement by the police. She added that, it is only the Attorney General of the Federation that is constitutionally vested with the powers to issue federal government gazette, which must be duly signed by the President.
She also stated that the federal government gazette is a public document, and not a police dairy “and if he has any gazette, he should be courageous enough to tender it before the public”.
She further stressed that the pronouncement was dully challenged in the court of law, where his Lordship, Justice Ibrahim Auta, the then Chief
Judge of the Federal High Court declared it a nullity and gave the police a stern warning never to do such or make reference to it again.
“Issuing a press statement a day after Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered his judgement turning the ill-motivated request to seal the office of PCN and further went to the police to unseal the building shows that the police has lost its respect for the sanctity of
rule of law.
“This same police statement came the day Senate overwhelmingly called on President Mohammadu Buhari to quickly assent to the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bill, so that its members who are mostly graduates can fill in the gap in complimenting the efforts of security agencies in tackling crime through intelligence gathering and neighborhood watch,” she affirmed.
Umoru quoted Auta’s ruling saying, “That the court therefore find that the action of the first and second defendants are unconstitutional and illegal, that no court order was obtained before the said organisation was proscribed.
“That the respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, privies and
servants are restrained from proscribing, harassing or intimidation the applicants and its members in any manner whatsoever and however.”
She added, “It might interest Nigerians to know that the police did not
appeal this judgement till now. From all intents and purposes, one does not need the services of a prophet to know that the intention of the police is to whip up negative sentiments against the Corps with the view to frustrating the highly anticipated presidential assent.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Police on Monday insisted on the proscription of the activities of the Peace Corps of Nigeria describing the group as illegal.