Peace Corps anniversary celebration ends in chaos after Police invasion

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Armed riot policemen on Tuesday disrupted a rally and press briefing organised by the Peace Corps of Nigeria to mark its 20th anniversary in Abuja.

There was pandemonium in Abuja as men of the Mobile Police Unit of the Nigerian Police Force invaded the office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN).

The policemen fired tear gas canisters at the PCN members and journalists as everyone scampered for safety. To celebrate the anniversary, the Corps leadership had addressed a press conference at its old office in Gwarimpa.

The riot policemen shot tear gas into the midst of the crowd which included Peace Corps personnel, civil society groups, and journalists.

President Muhammad Buhari had recently rejected the Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Peace Corps by declining to put assent to the Bill.

Despite that, the National Commandant of the Corps, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh said the Corps would continue to exist as a Non-Governmental Organisation which was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Corps celebrated its 20th anniversary on Tuesday by addressing newsmen in the old office located at Gwarimpa and thereafter, members and journalists moved on a peaceful rally to the sealed office for another briefing.

At the process of briefing journalists, a detached operatives of Mobile Police men arrived the premises and started shooting sporadically, sending teargas into the midst of the crowd which comprises officers of Peace Corps, Civil Society Coalition and journalists.

READPhoto: Officer fainted after Buhari rejected Establishment Bill of Peace Corps Nigeria

Though no casualty has been confirmed, several civil society activists and journalists were said to have been injured in the process.

As at the time of filing this report, the Policemen were seen chasing the youths along Jabi road while shooting sporadically to the air with teargas, as commuters and passers-by run for their lives.

The Peace Corps office located at number 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme street, opposite Jabi Lake Abuja, has been under lock and keys by the Police since February 28th, 2017, the day the office was commissioned.

Justices Gabriel Kolawole and John Tsoho, both of the Federal High Court Abuja, had in separate ruling, ordered the Police to vacate the property.

The city of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, was on Tuesday thrown into pandemonium as men of the Mobile Police Unit of the Nigerian Police Force invaded the office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN).

President Muhammad Buhari had recently rejected the Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Peace Corps by declining to put assent to the Bill.

Despite that, the National Commandant of the Corps, Amb (Dr.) Dickson Akoh said the Corps would continue to exist as a Non-Governmental Organisation which was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Corps celebrated its 20th anniversary on Tuesday by addressing newsmen in the old office located at Gwarimpa and thereafter, members and journalists moved on a peaceful rally to the sealed office for another briefing.

At the process of briefing journalists, a detached operatives of Mobile Police men arrived the premises and started shooting sporadically, sending teargas into the midst of the crowd which comprises officers of Peace Corps, Civil Society Coalition and journalists.

Though no casualty has been confirmed, several civil society activists and journalists were said to have been injured in the process.

As at the time of filing this report, the Policemen were seen chasing the youths along Jabi road while shooting sporadically to the air with teargas, as commuters and passers-by run for their lives.

The Peace Corps office located at number 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, off Alex Ekwueme street, opposite Jabi Lake Abuja, has been under lock and keys by the Police since February 28th, 2017, the day the office was commissioned.

Justices Gabriel Kolawole and John Tsoho, both of the Federal High Court Abuja, had in separate ruling, ordered the Police to vacate the property.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had also written to the Police Boss, IGP Idris Ibrahim, advising that the office be unsealed, “in absence of any appeal or valid stay of execution”.

The House of Representatives, based on the report by its committee on Public Petitions, had also given the Police 21-day ultimatum to vacate the property, but the office still remains closed.

Various Civil Society Organisations and the National Human Rights Commission have also, at different times intervened in the matter, but the Police appear not to be responding to their entreaties.

 
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