President Muhammadu Buhari had, in February 2018, withheld his assent to the Bill, citing security concerns as well as financial constraints in funding the organisation by the government as his reasons for his decision.
The National Assembly has begun the process of transmitting the bill seeking the establishment of the Nigeria Peace Corps to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. A final harmonisation of the legislation titled ‘Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Peace Corps’ by the two Chambers would be done for onward transmission to the Presidency.
The House of Representatives had taken the lead by constituting a six-man Conference Committee that would work with their Senate counterparts on harmonisation of the bill in order to produce a clean copy for onward transmission to the President.
Members of the House Conference Committee are Rep. Babangida Ibrahim (Chairman), Rep. Tijani Kayode Ismail, Rep. Chinedu Ogah, Rep. Ibrahim Umar Potiskum, Rep. Abdulmumini Are and Rep. Legor Idegbo as members. On its part, the Senate’s Committee has Senator Kashim Shettima as Chairman, while Senator Abba Moro, Senator Betty Apiafi, Senator Oriolowo Adelere, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Seriake Dickson are members.
The Conference Committee members are expected to look at discrepancies and harmonise them before forwarding the clean copy to the Presidency.
It can be recalled that the Nigeria Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill was passed in 2022 by the two Chambers of the National Assembly. While the Senate’s version is sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Army, Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Chief Whip of the House, is sponsor of the House of Representatives version.
Our sources at the National Assembly also noted that the harmonisation would be completed before the lawmakers proceed on recess for the campaigns next week.
The Bill, among other things, seeks to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps as a body charged with the responsibility to develop, empower and provide gainful employment to youths, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community service, neighbourhood watch and nation-building. According to part Vlll of the passed bill, when assented to by President Buhari, 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, Dickson Ameh Akoh, is incorporated in Nigeria under the Company and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act and accorded the federal government recognition through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
The United Nations in 2011 accorded the organisation a Special Consultative Status, while the African Union in 2016 accorded the same status to the organisation. It also has a well-structured network of regular staff, volunteers and offices in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).