The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has explained why it raided the headquarters of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, PCN, and arrested its Commandant, Dickson Akoh.
The explanation is coming nearly 24 hours after Police personnel stormed the Gwarimpa, Abuja headquarters of the PCN in commando style in the dead of the night and allegedly manhandled members of the Corps present at the time before whisking away about 40 people, including the Commandant.
No less than two persons were said to have been hospitalized due to injuries sustained in the operation.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, in a statement on Wednesday said that the operation was carried out by a combined team of Police, Military and DSS personnel, based on intelligence reports to the effect that the Peace Corps and other similar groups “were acquiring weapons and conducting covert military training in different locations across the country.”
He noted that a federal government gazette in 2013 had banned the activities of the Peace Corps.
“Credible intelligence reports at the disposal of the Force revealed that some of these illegal Security outfits have started acquiring weapons and conducting covert military training in different locations across the country,” the statement read in part.
“It is evident that in 2013, Federal Republic of Nigeria official Gazette dissolved and proscribed illegal Security outfits such as Nigerian Maritime security Agency (NMSA), Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps and the Nigerian Merchant Navy Petroleum Security and Safety, Peace Corps of Nigeria and other quasi illegal security outfits.
“However, it has been observed that Nigerian Maritime Security Agency NMSA, Peace Corps of Nigeria, Maritime Security Agency and National Task Force to Combat Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms and Ammunition, Light and Chemical/Weapons are still operating outside their mandates and purposes for which they were registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission.”
The Police spokesman pointed out that “the Peace Corps of Nigeria under the leadership of one Akor Dickson was registered as an NGO but with brazen impunity, total disregard to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, opened illegal training camps in some States of the country, where thousands of youths and other persons without proper background check and screening are receiving convert military training.”
Moshood noted that “secret training camps” belonging to the PCN were closed down in the FCT, Kwara and Niger States”, during which it was discovered that the Corps was extorting money from unsuspecting Nigerians.
The statement read further: “The Corps has no legal authority to wear uniform, parade itself as Security outfit, post their personnel on guard duties, and use ranking, insignia, badges of rank which are semblance of that of the Police, Military and other paramilitary organizations without the approval of Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies will not fold their arms and allow lawlessness to be unleashed on the society.
“It is in furtherance of the above that the Nigeria Police Force, the personnel of the Military, Department of State Service, had in a joint security operations swooped on the Head office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria on the 28th February, 2017 situated opposite Jabi Lake, Utako District, sealed off the building and effected the arrest of one Mr. Akor Dickson, the Leader of Peace Corps of Nigeria and Forty Nine (49) others (on the attached list) for investigation in the interest of public safety and security.
“They will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation.”
The Police urged Parents and Guardians “to prevail on their children and wards to return home from the illegal military camps opened in some states of the country by the Peace Corps of Nigeria as the activities of the Corps in totality is unlawful.”
Recall that the DSS and police made submissions to the National Assembly against the establishment of the Peace Corps, but the bill got passed anyway.