The National Commandant of the Nigerian Peace Corps, Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, has described as crude and unjust, his arrest and detention alongside 47 others, by the Nigeria Police, saying they were manhandled.
The Police, Army and Department of State Security (DSS) had on Tuesday night, raided the National Headquarters of the Corps and, in a ‘Commando style,’ arrested the Corps Commandant and 47 senior officers of the Corps.
But in an exclusive interview with DAILY POST, shortly after his release on Thursday night, Akoh decried the “inhuman treatment” meted out to them, especially, the nursing mothers whom he alleged, were denied access to their kids for 3 days.
“We were subjected to inhuman treatment for 3 days. We did not take our bath, we did not have food to eat, including the young nursing mothers among us.
“Even when female Journalists protested and appealed that the nursing mothers be released to have access to their babies, the Police said no,” Akoh lamented.
He bemoaned the raid on his office by the security agencies, saying they did not commit any crime, neither did the security find anything incriminating against the organisation.
“The security agencies raided our office and were beating people at sight. We never committed any crime, we are law abiding citizens.
“Our office was highly raided by people that should be enforcing the law. If law enforcement agencies could do what they did to us that day, then we shouldn’t blame armed robbers for invading homes.
“Despite securing 11 court judgements against them, law enforcement agencies could still go ahead to do what they did, then it is so unfortunate,” he added.
The National Commandant, also enjoined the youths to remain calm and focus, saying the Nigerian Peace Corps has not been banned as being speculated in some quarters.
Akoh stressed that, “Peace Corps remains a legal entity. The legality of the Corps has been upheld by the court of law. The National Assembly has also passed the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps, to give statutory backing to Peace Corps of Nigeria. The African Union has accorded the Peace Corps a Special Consultative Status, as well as the United Nations.
“Anybody or any institution, that feels, because of the gullibility of the public in accepting news, and would say, Peace Corps has been banned, it is untrue. Peace Corps is a legal entity.
“My advice to the youths is to remain calm, because whatever that was done, was intended to instigate the youths against the organisation. But thank God the youths are wiser now and they know those who are standing on their way to success.”
On the allegation of military training raised by the Police, Dr. Akoh said the Corps did not engage in arm training and that the organisation did not encourage terrorism or accommodate terrorists as alleged.
He said, “court had already ruled on the issue of military training in 2011. Our activities do not touch on any classified military words. The concept of military training is armed. We don’t train on, or carry arms.
“You see people matching during parade and you call that military training? I was in Boy Scout and cadet during secondary school, we wear uniform and do parade. They just want to misinform the public. But we won’t be confrontational with them.
“We will allow our lawyers to do the needful. When we won the case against them in 2011, we stopped our Lawyers from enforcing the judgement, because, it’s the federal government that would pay the money and not the individuals who infringed on our rights. We won’t stop our lawyers this time.”
Mr. Akoh was released Thursday night, alongside his officers, after been paraded by the Police at a press conference in the Force Headquarters, Abuja.