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PEACE CORPS BILL: NO END IN SIGHT

(Last Updated On: May 25, 2018)

 

By Gbenga Gbelee

The controversy surrounding the Nigerian Peace Corps bill is far from ending as
the House of Representatives failed in its efforts to override President
Muhammadu Buhari’s non-assent to the bill.

The House of Representatives which boasted that it would override the decision
of the President could not achieve its aim yesterday as the bill failed to pass the
second reading at the House.

The bill seeks to turn the Peace Corps which is currently a non-governmental
organisation (N.G.O) into a government Para-military agency.

The bill, which was passed by the National Assembly amidst controversy was
rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari, who declined assent to the bill.

President Buhari had in February, hinged his refusal to assent to the bill on the
fact that it would be a duplication of duty and could conflict with the functions
of the existing security outfits especially the Nigeria police and the Nigeria
Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The bill was sponsored by Honourable Emmanuel Orker-Jev (APC, Benue) and
passed by the National Assembly last year.

In separate letters to the Senate and House of Representatives, President Buhari
also cited security concerns and financial implications amongst reasons for his
decision to deny the much anticipated assent to the bill.

The Nigerian Peace Corps bill was transmitted to the President in December
2017 by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori.

The Nigerian police had remained opposed to the legalisation of the Nigerian
Peace Corps.

It would be recalled that in February last year, Men of the Nigeria Police
stormed the organisation’s headquarters in Abuja and arrested its head, Dickson
Akoh, and about 49 other members.

The police accused Mr. Akoh of using the Peace Corps, registered as a non-
governmental organisation, to swindle young job seekers and operate as a para-
military agency.

Mr. Akoh, who denied the allegations, was later granted bail.