IGP loses bid to stop contempt charge on Peace Corps

Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris

Orders CPs to disarm militias, vigilantes in states 

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has lost his bid to stop the contempt charge brought against him by the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) over his alleged flouting of court orders.

Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in a ruling yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection raised by Idris against his personal appearance in court.

The Judge in the ruling ordered him to appear in Court on March 13, 2018 to explain why he should not be jailed for his disobedience of March 26, 2014 court order restraining the Police from interfering with the activities of the Peace Corps.In his preliminary objection against the contempt charge as submitted by his counsel, David Igbodo, the IGP claimed that he was not personally served with form 48 in relation to the contempt charge.

He prayed the court to void the contempt charge and set it aside on the ground that the form 48 that summoned him to appear in court was served on the commissioner of Police in charge of legal matters at the Force Headquarters.But Justice Oriji in his ruling slammed the IGP for employing technicality and delay tactics to frustrate the charge against him.

The Judge imposed a fine of N25,000 on the Police Chief and ordered him to personally appear in court on the adjourned date.Counsel to Peace Corps, Joshua Yakubu Musa (SAN), had approached the Abuja High Court asking it to commit Idris to prison for two years for flouting the judgment of the court delivered on March 26, 2014.

He submitted that in spite of the restraining order against the Police not to interfere with operations of the Corps, the Police refused to obey the court order by sealing up its head office, among others.

In the 2014 judgment, Police was fined N12.5m as compensation for the principal officers and men of the corps who were arbitrarily arrested and detained in various cells across the country.Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN) had filed another contempt charge against Idris for disobeying the Federal High Court order that the Police should unseal the Peace Corps office in Abuja.

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, gave the fresh judgment.Meanwhile, the IGP has ordered all the state Commissioners of Police (CPs) to immediately disarm militias and vigilantes in their states.He also warned state governments against arming militias to protect citizens of their states, saying no law in the land empowers them to do so. 

He argued that the Constitution made it clear that only the security agencies were responsible for carrying arms and ammunition, adding that those who violate the law in whatever guise would be dealt with accordingly. 

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Ibrahim Idris
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