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Court orders Peace Corps accounts unfrozen

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has ordered the immediate unfreezing of about 24 bank accounts belonging to the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) and some of its members and trustees. Recall that the accounts of the Corps were frozen in February by the order of the Nigerian Police following an altercation with the corps and the arrest of the National Commandant of the Corps, Dickson Akoh and 49 others. The Nigerian Police had approached the courts to get legal backing to the freezing of the accounts of the Corps. However, the Police approached the court on June 23rd with an experte motion, to seek court’s backing on the already frozen accounts. Peace Corps of Nigeria therefore, filed a counter motion, accompanied by 28 paragraph affidavit, urging the court to declare null and void, the ‘post no bill’ on the various accounts of its members. While ruling on the motion on notice of 5th July by the PCN, Justice John Tsoho, set aside a preliminary injunctions earlier granted by his court and a Magistrates Court in Wuse. Justice Tsoho frowned at the rationale behind filing such applications in two different courts of competent jurisdictions. “The order from the Magistrate Court and this Honourable court have the same effect”, Tsoho said, describing it as “an abuse of court process”. On the argument that the Police had “illegally” frozen the Peace Corps accounts long before seeking an injunction in the court, Justice Tsoho said, the Police did not deny the applicant’s submission. Justice Tsoho also berated the counsel to the Nigerian Police, Barrister Idachaba, for continuing to file motions when the matter had already been taken up by the Attorney-General of the Federation. “The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and holds the right to prosecute state matters. “The motion filed by Idachaba (Esq.) did not have the support of the Attorney-General of the Federation and it is tantamount to abuse of court process”. “A situation whereby, a criminal charge is being prosecuted by the Counsel assigned by the AGF and Idachaba also comes up to prosecute some motions in respect of the suit is highly complicated and confusing”. He, therefore, gave the Attorney-General of the Federation up to the next adjourned date, to clarify the misconceptions on the appropriate channel of services by the parties involved in the matter.

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