The South west zone of the Nigerian Peace Corps, Wednesday stormed the streets of Lagos to celebrate the passing of the bill establishing the Corps, as they praised the Senate for demonstrating deep sense of commitment to national security and development.
Zonal Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria South -West , Habib Mutairu said the security challenges in the country demanded complementary role from an organization like the Peace Corps.
While passing the bill on July 25, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, said, “One long journey, we finally got to the Promise land. Thank you all”.
The motion was moved by the deputy chairman, Senate committee on interior, Senator Bayero Nafada, and the Senate resolved that, the Federal Government of Nigeria should give statutory backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria.
It could be recalled that, the red chamber passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill on November 25, 2016 shortly after the House of Representatives passed same.
A conference committee of both chambers was however inaugurated on December 8, 2016, to harmonise the bill passed at different levels.
The lower house had laid and adopted its report on January 19, while the Senate only laid the report, but deferred its adoption.
After considering the issues raised by the Senate, it was resolved in May 2017, that the David Umaru-led committee should critically review the ongoing imbroglio of the Corps and other agencies and advise the Senate appropriately.
The Senate therefore, expunged the National Unity and Peace Corps from the newly harmonised version of the Bill.
Also in the harmonised version of the bill, the head of the Peace Corps shall be referred to as the National Commandant, with 6 Deputy National Commandants representing the 6 geopolitical zones of the country.
The Corps, according to the Consolidated Bill, shall also be domiciled with the federal ministry of youths and sports development.
With the adoption of the conference committee report, the bill is now set to be transmitted to the presidency, for assent.
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.
The power tussle between the the Nigeria Police Force and the Peace Corps took a new dimension following the raiding and arresting of the national commandant of the corps, Ambassador Dickson Akoh.
Akoh was reportedly arrested close to midnight on Tuesday, February 28 after the police raided the national headquarters of the corps in Abuja.
The corps, a youth-based organisation, came into force after it was given a nod by the National Assembly through a bill that was passed, but the police had allegedly kicked against the granting it a go-ahead to operate.
Dickson Akoh was later arraigned before a Federal High Court siting in Abuja. He and the incorporated trustees of Peace Corps of Nigeria (ITPCN) were were slammed with 90 counts.
The corps later sued the police authority as well as the Department of State Service (DSS) and sought compensation for what its boss suffered in the hands of security agents recently.