The House of Representatives, on has reintroduced a Bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps.
The Bill titled ‘Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, 2019 HB 17’, being sponsored by a ranking lawmaker, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno), passed the first reading on Wednesday during the plenary.
Both the House and the Senate, had in 2016, passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bill 2016.
But President Muhammad Buhari declined assent to the Bill, citing paucity of funds and duplication of functions of other security agencies as the main reasons.
The President’s decline of assent, however, elicited a lot of reactions from the lawmakers and members of the public, who felt it was an avenue for the federal government to empower the youth and graduates in the country.
A source at the House of Representatives hinted that the reintroduced Bill is a revised version of the rejected Bill.
“The grey areas pointed out by the Presidency have been taken care of, in this new Bill. The Bill introduces more avenues for funding and there is none of its functions that overlaps with any existing security agency.
“I’m sure the President, in line with his resolve to empower the Nigerian youth and also strengthen the intelligence gathering and neighborhood watch in Nigeria, will gladly welcome this Bill”, the source hinted.
The Bill seeks to give legal backing to the already existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, which was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a Non-Governmental Organization, with a consultative status with the United Nations and the African Union.
When established, the scheme would empower at least 3 million Nigerian youths, who are currently serving as volunteers.
Since the Bill was passed at both Houses, it may not necessarily need to pass through the legislative procedures of lawmaking, as it may not be subjected to further public hearing, but adoption of clauses, final passage at the green chamber and concurrence at the Senate.
The Nigerian Peace Corps, upon establishment, shall be domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, under the supervision Honourable Minister.
The core mandates of the Corps is to develop, empower and provide gainful employment to the youths, in order to facilitate Peace, Volunteerism, Community Services, Neighbourhood Watch, nation-building and other related matters.