A legal officer serving with the Nigerian Police, Superintendent Joseph Nwadike is to face trial for lying under oath.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon Nkem Abonta, while presiding over an investigative hearing involving the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotun Idris and the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Justice and Equity, over the sealing of Peace Corps office.
For over a year, the national headquarters of Peace Corps of Nigeria has remained locked by the Police, despite two subsisting court orders by the Federal High Court that the office be unsealed.
The House of Representatives had given 48 hours ultimatum for police to vacate the premises but the status quo still remains, even after the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Ibrahim Malami had written to the IGP, advising him to obey the 2 court orders.
But the Police told the lawmakers on Tuesday that it had appealed against the judgement given by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of Abuja Federal High Court on 9th November, 2017, though it said, that of Justice John Tsoho of 15th January 2018 had not been appealed against.
Barr. Nwadike, who appeared alongside Barr. Samuel Malu, another legal officer of the Police Force, on behalf of the IGP, also admitted that the AGF did advise that the court orders be obeyed, but since an appeal had been filed and an application for a stay of execution had also been filed, there was no point working on the advice of the AGF.
Trouble, however, started when, the lawmakers reminded the legal officer that “an application for a stay is not the same as stay of execution”, and he replied under oath that, the Police had also secured “a valid stay of execution”, when asked by Hon. Razak Atunwa, member of the committee.
He, however, could not produce any evidence of stay of execution, even after given a grace of adjournment with instruction that the proof be provided within one hour. Rather, he swiftly denied saying there was a valid stay.
Irked by what he described as “playing on the intelligence of the National Assembly and the public”, the committee chairman vowed to pursue the matter to logical conclusion.
He said, “If I find out that what you are saying is a lie, we won’t leave you free. I must pursue this case logically to ensure that the law takes its course.
“You are supposed to be a law enforcement officer, but you don’t want to obey court orders. As a Police Force, you can’t respect the court, you can’t respect the AGF and you can’t respect the parliament. Do you want God to come down by Himself?
“If you have respect for this parliament and Nigeria, you should have unsealed the office and pursue your case at the appeal court, if you succeed, you can go back and seal the office. It is not a perishable good or human that can run away.
“You have shown clearly that Police do not respect the law. But for your own good and the interest of the public, I will advise you to go and unseal the office”.
It would be recalled that, Barr. J.C. Idachaba, another legal officer serving with the Police is currently facing disciplinary action by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, following a petition from the PCN over the role he (Idachaba) played at the court recently.
He was alleged to have lied under oath, before Justice John Tsoho while debating an application to seal off the already sealed Peace Corps office.
Meanwhile, the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, has vowed that, no amount of lies or persecution from the Nigeria Police would deter the organisation from operating legally as registered.
According to Akoh, “Despite the two court orders still subsisting for the Peace Corps to take over our office, the Police came to the House of Representatives and lied, which have succeeded to bring to the fore all they have been doing to the corps and my humble self, so whatever tissues of lies that they have said today is just a replica of what the police have been doing to us from day one which is to frustrate what we are doing.”
Addressing newsmen shortly after the hearing, Akoh said, “The Police have lied on oath again before the Committee that there is an order from the Court of Appeal restraining them from obeying the judgements of the High Court, but when asked to provide the purported oder from the Appeal Court, they reversed the statement by claiming that it was an application that they had”.
Akoh berated the action of the Police whom he claimed have actually found nothing incriminating inside the said property and insisted that as a law abiding organisation it will continue to explore only legitimate means to take over its property from the Police as the Committee Chairman had promised to send its report to the larger House for further legislative action.