– The rejection of the Peace Corps bill by President Muhammadu Buhari is still a major topic in the polity
– The council of commandants and Board of Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) have officially reacted to the president’s decision
– They urged the president to reconsider his decision for the sake of Nigerian youths
The council of commandants and Board of Trustees of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reevaluate and reconsider his decision to withhold his assent to the Peace Corps bill.
They made the call at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, March 2, arguing that there was no security agency in Nigeria that was currently undertaking the functions ascribe to Peace Corps in the said bill.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, the national commandant, Dr Dickson Akoh said the bill does not conflict with that of the functions of any existing security agency in the country.
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According to him, the essence of the organisation “is to observe as an arbiter of peace, youth volunteerism, maintaining and sustaining a level of pro-activeness and courier of information for impending nefarious activities and plots that can lead to the breakdown of peace and order anywhere in Nigeria.
“The role of the Peace Corps is clearly distinct from that of conventional security and paramilitary organisations, hence its placement under the federal ministry of sports and youths development. The powers conferred on the Nigerian Peace Corps in the bill do not also involve arms bearing, investigation, detention and prosecution.”
He also said similar organisations exist in several other countries of the world including the American Peace Corps, Canadian Peace Corps, Bangladesh National Cadet Corps, Peace Officers Commission in China amongst others.
On the excuse of paucity of funds by the president, Akoh said the source of funds for he organisation as enshrined in the bill does not solely place the burden on the federal government, as international donor agencies are also encapsulated to give grants and donations to the Corps.
“One of the principal objectives of the Peace Corps is deployment to schools and colleges to promote peace, sniff and sieve intelligence. This could have prevented the recent abduction of our girls at the Girls Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state,” he added.
He also said the bill was supported with over 500 memorandum from government agencies, traditional rulers, civil society organisations, student bodies and other pressure groups in the country.
Despite the president’s decision, Akoh said the Peace Corps would “continue to have esteem confidence on Mr. President’s leadership of this great country,” even as it acknowledged the support of the members of the National Assembly and countless groups in its quest to see the bill passed.
READ ALSO: Withholding of assent is not the end of the Peace Corps bill, it is still on transit – Senator Ohuabunwa
Earlier this week, President Buhari this informed the House of Representatives and the Senate that he was withholding his assent on the bill due to paucity of funds and duplication of duties.
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