Saturday 4 March 2017

Peace Corps Boss, Akoh wants laws establishing security agencies amended

The National Commandant, Nigeria Peace Corps, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, has called on the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgent public importance, amend the extant laws that established the security agencies in Nigeria.

He said this in a swift reaction to the raid on the national office of the Corps and the subsequent arrest and detention of over 47 senior officers of the Corps.

This, he argued, would remove any clause or provisions (if any), that warrants the security operatives to arrest and parade innocent Nigerians, without any charge against them.

Speaking to DAILY POST, shortly after his release from Police detention on Thursday, Akoh said “the National Assembly should come up with a bill to amend, if there is any existing law, that permits security agencies to pick innocent people, parade them, lie against them, and at the end, they would not have anything tangible against them.

“It happened to us before in 2011, at the end, there was no charge before courts of law. The court discharged us from Gudu High Court, and held that, it was wrong for them to detain us for a long time and be asking for a withholding charge for a matter that is not a capital offence.

“What they are doing now is to prove to the whole world that they are working. Rushing into parading people unjustly is very sad. What are the evidences tendered against us? They only tendered my uniform, my official portrait that I have been using in the same office that some of them had come to visit and our flag. How does that constitute anything criminal?”, Akoh queried.

The National Commandant faulted the manner of raid on his office which saw 6 persons lying critically unconscious at the National Hospital, Abuja, and the way the Police hurriedly paraded them at a press conference, even though they were not criminals.

He said, “I have travelled to several advanced countries, where Police would see accident victims and show empathy, would stay with the victim and in some instance, take the victims to the hospital until they are fine. When shall we get to that stage as a people?”

He said there were a lot of police officers and other uniform men with arm and kidnap related cases, who were kept in the same place with them, but were not paraded to the press.

Akoh charged the Officers of the Peace Corps to be resilient and not to be allowed to be intimidated, adding that they had passed through the path severally.

When asked if he would refund the N40,000 the organisation collected from the Officers before training them, the National Commandant said, the Police was only trying to instigate the youths against the organisation, adding that, “begging the youths to come and report case of N40,000 shows that the Police do not have any standing complaint against the Peace Corps”.

He added that the cadets would only request for a refund of money, “if only they did not participate in the orientation/training exercise, if they were not provided the official uniform and kits or if they were not provided with accommodation and medicare for one month.

“The N40,000 they kept flogging is because the National Assembly has passed the Bill. They tried during the public hearing to stop the bill but it was not possible, so the last resort is to come up with the issue of N40,000.

“We have never denied collecting the said amount. They are also mentioning N50, 000 and N100,000, we are not collecting any amount other than N40,000.

“The youths voluntarily enlisted into the Peace Corps, and the youths also believe that, for the first time, democracy has created avenue to accommodate them”, he added.

Akoh also explained that the same Police had in 2008, carried out a thorough investigation into the activities of the Peace Corps and came out with clearance that the organisation did not constitute any security threat to the nation.

He also revealed that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had also recently investigated the issue of N40,000 and came out with their findings that the amount was meant for training and logistics.

The Peace Corps Boss lamented that he had been severally kept in underground cells with serious torture, over the source of fund of Peace Corps, “and now that they have discovered the source, it is also constituting problem”.

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