For the second time, the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) Establishment Bill was on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
While that of the Senate was sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, that of the House of Representatives was sponsored by the Chief Whip, Hon Mohammed Monguno as HB17.
With the overwhelming passage of the bill on its merit, all is now set for the clerk of the National Assembly to transmit the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
The bill, among others, seeks to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps as a body charged with the responsibilities to develop, empower and provide gainful employment for youths, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch and nation-building.
According to Part Vlll of the bill passed, when assented to by President Buhari, it would give statutory backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria.
The Peace Corps of Nigeria established over 24 years ago under the National Commandant, Professor Dickson Ameh Akoh is incorporated in Nigeria under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and accorded Federal Government’s recognition through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
Due to the value-driven programmes of the corps, which aimed at the socio-economic empowerment of the Nigerian youths and its onerous contributions to peace-building and advocacy, the United Nations in 2011 accorded the organization a Special Consultative Status while the African Union in 2016 accorded the same status to the organization, thus, making it a member of the Social and Economic Councils of both the United Nations and the African Union.
So far, the organization has a well-structured network of offices in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory FCT with a membership strength of over 187,000, comprising both regular staff and volunteers.
For the landmark achievements and accomplishments of the organization thus far, the corps and its national commandant have received over 110 awards nationally and internationally.
Briefing journalists on the latest development, National Commandant (Prof.) Dickson Ameh Akoh thanked the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for considering the bill worthy of passage thereby doing justice to it.
Professor Akoh also thanked members of the two chambers of the National Assembly for the sense of patriotism displayed in ensuring that the bill saw the light of day.
He pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill this time around as a lasting legacy of his government and a befitting parting gift to the Nigerian youth.
The national commandant explained that all the grey areas which prevented the assent in 2016 have been cleaned up adding that the corps would not have any conflict with any of the existing security agencies.
“The best gift to the Nigerian youth from President Buhari is to give assent to the Bill and as a youth-friendly President, we are deeply optimistic that Mr President will do the needful this time around.
“No amount of resources committed to youth development in this country, especially in the face of insecurity, poverty and lack of employment, is a waste. Peace Corps is not just being conceived, it has offices all over the country,” Akoh said.