Justice Gabriel Kolawale of a Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), to pay the sum of N12.5 million as compensation to officials of the Peace Corps for unlawful detention and arrest on February 28, 2017.
The court has also ordered the police to unseal the headquarters of the corps in Abuja, sealed since February 28, when police invaded the premises during the official commissioning of the building.
The Commandant, Mr. Dickson Akoh, pleaded not guilty to the claim by the police of using the Peace Corps, registered as a non-governmental organisation, to swindle young job seekers and operate as a paramilitary agency.
Consequently, in March, 2017, they instituted a fundamental human right suit against the Police, the Inspector-General of Police, Department of State Security, its Director-General, and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
The trial Judge, in his ruling, held that the police and others security agents involved in the seal of the house did not act according to the law.
He held that the security agents acted outside their statutorily powers.
Justice Kolawole held that the police acted as real antagonist to the existence of the peace corps and that they had no business to have acted in the way and manner they did by arresting the officials and barricading the office, 10 months ago.
Kolawale held that the police failed to convince the court that the Peace Corps officials committed a crime when they swooped on them.
He described as “amorphous,” the claim by the police, that the invasion of the Peace Corps house was based on an intelligence report, adding that nothing was placed before the court to justify the claim.
The judge said under the law, the Peace Corps was entitled to owe movable and immovable law property and that under no circumstances should any security agent deny them this right as the police and other security agents did.
“It is a fact the police have proved to be a major antagonist to the peace corps with its claim that Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution makes provision for only one Nigeria Police Force,” adding that by that claim, “it is beyond doubt that the police one sees the peace corps as a major opponents.”
He, therefore, ordered the police to pay the N12.5 million to the Peace Corps officials in order to assuage the harassment and intimidation suffered during the invasion.