The National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Prof. Dickson Akoh, says he is hopeful that President Muhammadu Buhari will assent to the Peace Corps Bill before the end of his administration.
Akoh, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the benefits associated with assenting to the bill were enormous.
”My appeal is to the president assent to the bill as his parting gift to Nigerian youths because the bill when signed into law would play vital roles in empowering youths and promote security.
“We will be seen as a model in our quest for national creativity, peace and youth development.
“Our role will not only be very complimentary, but also very unique in the sense that we are mindful of our mandate and we are not going to deviate from our core mandate .
“It is going to brighten the hope of Nigerian youths by creating a reservoir where apart from the officials we will train youths as volunteers.”
He said that youths would be empowered to engage in neighbourhood watch to source information and educate members of the communities on the safety and security measures peculiar to their neighbourhood.
“When that approach is followed, you will find out that indirectly we must have helped in reducing insecurity in the land .
“I want to use this medium to renew my appeal to the president to ascent to the Nigeria peace Corp bill. ”
Akoh said that the corps would work as a complimentary agency to security agencies therefore there would not be duplications.
NAN reports that the National Assembly has forwarded to President Buhari for assent , the harmonised version of the bill on Nigerian Peace Corps.
This was after passage by both the Senate and the House of Representatives .
Transmission of the bill for Presidential assent by the Clerk to the National Assembly ( CNA), Sani Tambuwal was done through a letter written to that effect .
The letter was dated April 12 and directly addressed to President Buhari.
Three copies of the authenticated copies of the bills were forwarded to the President for assent , one of which is expected to be retained by him and the other two sent back to the National Assembly for further action .
In line with provisions of the 1999 Constitution, President Buhari is expected to assent to the bill on or before May 11 when 30 days window given for such important action must have been exploited.
The bill, if assented to, the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria that had been operating on template of volunteerism over the years, will now be Federal Government owned and funded Agency in the name of Nigeria Peace Corps.
On April 12, 2022, the bill passed third reading after Sadiq Umar, chairman of the senate committee on interior, presented a report.
The bill is being sponsored by Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno north.
While presenting the report on the floor of the senate on Tuesday, Umar said his committee received “hundreds of memoranda” from stakeholders who are supporting the passage of the legislation.
he senator said the bill, if passed and assented to by the president, would help tackle rising unemployment in the country.
After presenting his report, the senate went into the “committee of the whole” where they considered and passed 40 sections of the bill.
NAN reports that in 2018, President Buhari rejected the bill, citing security concerns and financial burden of funding the organisation.
But Ndume reintroduced the bill in 2019, arguing that the concerns raised by Buhari had been addressed in the new bill.
The bill passed first reading not long after the ninth national assembly led by Senate President Ahmad Lawan was inaugurated. (NAN)
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