FINALLY: Senate Passes Peace Corps Bill
The Senate on Thursday passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill into law, thereby giving approval for the establishment of the Nigerian Peace Corps as an agency under the Ministry of Interior.
Presenting the report of the Committee on Interior on the floor of the Senate, the committee chairman, Senator Bayero Nafada urged the Senate to support the passage of the Bill, saying “the organisation will be of great benefit to the Nigerian youths”.
“In response to increasing complexity of the factors responsible for insecurity and the method by which peace and security is being undermined in Nigeria, there is need to develop comprehensive, multi-sectoral, multi stakeholders and inclusive approaches in order to stem these threats,” he said.
The Nafada-led committee recommended that the Nigerian Peace Corps and the National Unity and Peace Corps should be merged as one, since both formations appear the same.
Speaking further, Senator Nafada said the committee received 237 written memoranda and numerous oral submissions from government ministries, traditional institutions, religious bodies, academia, NGOs, other various interest groups and individuals.
“Two Hundred and Nineteen (219) of the written memoranda received and most of the oral presentations at the hearing supported the establishment of the Nigerian Peace Corps while Fourteen (14) supported the establishment of National Unity and Peace Corps,” he revealed.
It can be recalled that the Senate at its sitting on Thursday 10th March, 2016 debated on the general principles of the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, 2016 (SB.173) sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South); and the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill, 2016 (SB.183) sponsored by Senator Binta Garba Masi (Adamawa North); and referred to one of its committee for further legislative action.
The Senate Committee on Interior also conducted public hearing on Wednesday 20th April 2016, where it elicited the views of the stakeholders and the general public on the merits and otherwise of the two Bills.
The Nigerian Peace Corps Bill among others, seeks to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for the youths, to facilitate Peace, Volunteerism, Community Services, Neighbourhood Watch and Nation-building.
As recommended, the Head of the Corps shall be referred to as Commandant-General (CG) with six Deputy Commandant – General (DCGs) and six Assistant Commandant – General (ACGs), drawn from the six geopolitical zones which should reflect the Federal Character principle.