The police feud with the corps is unnecessary, contends Rogers Edor Oche
“The devil is the father of lies. But members of the present generation have made tremendous improvements on it so much that even the devil is green with envy’’ –Jonathan Swift
In their cruel determination to drive Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) out of existence, there is no lie considered too ‘sacrilegious’ to be told about it. The situation has got so bad that even the truth that is so glaring is being turned upside down. This explains why supposedly law-enforcement institutions have long kissed truth goodbye and embraced lies as an instrument of their operation. In a nutshell, they have elevated falsehood into an art.
Ever since they rudely invaded the new corporate headquarters of the PCN, arrested and detained the National Commandant, Dr. Dickson Akoh and 49 other officers, these implacable enemies of the corps have been rather shifty in the way and manner they bandy one lie after another. They have perfected the art of lying to the extent that they keep manufacturing them with the passage of each day.
This pathetic lie of the police came to a heady climax with the recent affidavit disposed to by one Sgt. Philip Tumba of the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, Legal Department of the FCT Police Command, which was sworn to at the Registry of Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. In the aforementioned affidavit which contained tissue of` lies, the police denied what is already well known in the public domain. Apparently aware of the water-tight case of the PCN against it and the impending embarrassing defeat staring it in the face, the police resorted to what it knows how to do best—lying, even on oath, which is a serious criminal offence punishable under the laws of the land.
Sgt. Tumba, through that affidavit was either being economical with the truth or merely elected to stand honesty on its head when he denied that the act of rascality perpetrated by security operatives on the premises of the corps on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 was not an invasion, but a lawful execution of its duty.
He also lied when he said that no officer of the Peace Corps was brutalised or injured. He even chose to fault the PCN’s position that some of its officers were brutalised and admitted at National Hospital, Abuja, a position that has already been confirmed by several media reports supported with pictures of the victims. To further buttress the position of the PCN on the issue, journalists from Channels, NTA and AIT, including Radio Nigeria and other radio stations actually interviewed the victims at the hospital and even captured their pictures.
If the police claimed that it did not arrest any Peace Corps officer, does it mean that Akoh and the 49 others that were paraded on March 1, 2017 flew to Force Headquarters to be paraded as such? How did the police get the official uniform and portrait of the national commandant that it gleefully displayed to the world as exhibits?
In that same aforementioned affidavit, which is riddled with lies, the police went on to further lower its esteem in the eyes of the world when it described its closure of the Peace Corps offices nationwide, especially the National Headquarters, Abuja, where the police had condoned off with Armoured Personnel Carrier and a pick-up van as a mere cordoning off of a ‘’scene of crime to secure it for further and detail investigation.’’ The question to ask is: why didn’t the police conclude investigation before rushing into this premeditated action of beating, arresting and detaining innocent Nigerians? Why the indecent haste in closing a legal organisation that is duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)?
In No 11 of the affidavit, the police gave itself kudos for doing what it said was for ‘’public good and interest in order to prevent further illegal extortion of money from the unsuspecting members of the public’’. Nothing can be further from the truth! This case of extortion that the police keep recycling about the corps has been over-flogged. This is the same allegation, which the police and the ICPC investigated and gave the corps a clean bill of health in the past.
The allegation of the corps creating camps in different parts of the country and organising military-like training is neither here nor there. I wish to restate for the umpteenth time that the corps had never claimed to be or acted like a paramilitary organisation as it does not have the power to arrest, detain or prosecute. Over the years, the training of its recruits has always been observed by both the police, DSS, officials of Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, including traditional rulers of the local government areas where the training camps is situated.
On the issue of the corps providing uniforms and badges of ranks for its recruits, it is necessary to state here that in Nigeria today, there are about 47 youth organisations that wear uniforms with badges of ranks, including Boys Scouts, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide and even the ubiquitous officials of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) popularly called‘Agberos’. How many have the police raided or closed?
If the PCN is as notorious as the police would want Nigerians to believe, how come the respected umbrella body of the whole world cum Africa, the United Nations and African Union respectively gave it a special consultative status under their Economic and Social Councils (ECOSOC)? How come millions of Nigerians are not on the same page with the police in its malicious claims on the corps?
The truth about this matter is that the police have shot itself on the foot and is trying to find a convenient way out of its self-imposed logjam. This tango between the police and the PCN has exposed the hypocrisy of the police and its wanton ways of parading alleged criminals even before investigation is concluded. Its actions against the corps are a clear case of vendetta. So no amount of side-tracking the truth will save the police from the sword of Damocles that is hanging ominously on its head. History, like the late Nnamdi Azikiwe once said, will vindicate the just.
Ochela wrote from Abuja