By Taire Youdeowei
The Nigeria Police Force in joint operations with the personnel of the Military and Department of State Services, DSS, yesterday, raided the headquarters of the Nigerian Peace Corps and arrested the National Commandant, Mr. Akor Dickson, and 49 others.
The raid, Tuesday night, led to the closure of the Peace Corps of Nigeria secret training camps in Abuja, Kwara and Niger states.
Giving reasons for the raid yesterday, the Nigeria Police Force spokesman, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said intelligence reports indicated that the Peace Corps and other similar groups “were acquiring weapons and conducting covert military training in different locations across the country.
“It is evident that in 2013, the Federal Government’s official gazette dissolved and proscribed illegal security outfits such as Nigerian Maritime Security Agency, NMSA; Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps; the Nigerian Merchant Navy Petroleum Security and Safety, Peace Corps of Nigeria and other quasi-security outfits.
Arrested Peace Corps members
“However, it has been observed that NMSA, Peace Corps, Maritime Security Agency and National Task Force are still operating outside their mandates and purposes for which they were registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.”
While noting that the Peace Corps, under the leadership of Akor Dickson, was registered as an NGO, Jimoh Moshood said the body, with brazen impunity and total disregard to the laws of the country, opened illegal training camps in some states, where thousands of youths and other persons without proper background checks and screening are receiving converts Military training.
TOP: Peace Corps of Nigeria’s National Commandant, Akor Dickson, and some of the 49 members arrested. ABOVE: The Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, addressing journalists on the arrest, yesterday. Photos: Gbemiga Olamikan.
He said: “During preliminary investigation into the activities of the Peace Corps, it was discovered that its personnel are extorting money from unwary youths under the guise of recruitment. The amounts range from N50,000 to hundreds of thousands.”
He urged anyone who must have paid money under any pretence to the Peace Corps to report to the nearest police station across the country.
“The Corps has no legal authority to wear uniform, parade itself as a security outfit, post their personnel on guard duties, use ranking, insignia, badges of rank, which are semblance of that of the Police, Military and other paramilitary organisations without the approval of the Federal Government,” he declared.
While adding that the arrested officials will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation, Moshood advised 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, as the activities of the Corps are unlawful.