* Cites alleged disobedience to court orders
by Alex Enumah in Abuja
A coalition of civil society groups Thursday in Abuja, dragged the Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over his alleged persistent disobedience to court orders.
The civil groups, in a protest, urged the commission to call the IG to order, so as not to truncate the country’s democracy.
The conveners of the protest, Edward Omaga and Olayemi Success predicated their protest against the IG on the continued siege to the Head Office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), since February 2017, despite two court judgments against the police action.
The protesters, in their position papers presented to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Okechukwu Ojukwu, warned that unless the IG is called to order in the alleged flagrant disobedience to court orders, Nigeria as the biggest country in Africa might be turned to a banana republic, where the rule of law has no place.
Operating under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Justice and Equity, the group informed the commission that a Federal High Court judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, on November 9, 2017 in a judgment declared the police siege to the Peace Corps office as reckless, illegal, unlawful and an infringement on the fundamental rights of the corps and ordered that the office be unsealed immediately.
The group also recalled that another judge of the FHC, Justice John Tsoho, on January 15, this year, in an action filed by the police gave a landmark judgment in which the police authority under Idris, was ordered to vacate the Peace Corps’ office with immediate effect on the grounds that the police siege was unlawful.
Besides, the civil groups also told the rights commission that as a follow up to the two court’s judgment, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) wrote different letters to the IG directing him to comply with the judgment but regretted that up till now, the IG has not obeyed the court orders.
The groups further stated that the House of Representatives on May 9, 2018, after an investigation gave the IG and the police 21 days ultimatum within which to comply with the court orders on Peace Corps and that at the end of expiration of the ultimatum and up till now, Idris was yet to obey the court orders.
“While the ultimatum by the House of Representatives lasted, we as law abiding groups and worried by the police action wrote letters to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, AGF and Minister of Youths and Sports, craving their indulgence o intervene in the matter to compel Idris to obey valid court judgment but up till now, the police has not deemed it fit and proper to respect the law.
“You will agree with us that disobedience to court judgment and constituted authority is a recipe for anarchy. We submit that the NHRC cannot stand aloof in this matter of recklessness and illegality being perpetuated by the police.
“This monumental injustice perpetuated against the Peace Corps and the Nigerian youths by the police must be urgently redressed in accordance with the tenets of natural justice, rule of law and interest of nation’s democracy.
“Justice has been delayed long enough in this matter and we urged the commission to act now,” he said.
The group therefore pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately drop Idris as Nigeria’s police chief, adding that a situation where police as law keeper suddenly becomes law breaker cannot augur well for the nation.
Receiving the groups, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, pleaded with them to remain peaceful and law abiding, adding that in a couple of days, the commission would communicate them on their petition.