Following the presentation made by the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Seriake Dickson, Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate has adopted their report on the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, 2023.
According to the lawmaker, both the Senate and the house of representatives committees came together and adopted the version presented by the House of Representatives. The joint committee however, recommended the version of the Green Chamber, which retained the ‘Peace Corps of Nigeria’ appellation.
The adopted report presented by the Senate focused on Clause 38 (1),which was in conflict with the version presented by the House of Representatives on the same clause, while that of the Senate recommended that the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, National Unity and Peace Corps is dissolved.
The conference report made it clear that before a bill could become an Act of Parliament in Nigeria, it must pass through two chambers of the National Assembly. However, the National Unity and Peace Corps bill couldn’t meet that criteria, because its bill was never debated, unlike the Nigeria Peace Corps Bill that was debated and passed by the two chambers.
The House recommended that the Peace Corps of Nigeria is transformed into the Nigerian Peace Corps after President Muhammadu Buhari assents to it.
The Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps, which is clearly provided under Clause 38 (8), is a great opportunity for individuals, groups or associations that indicate interest to be co-opted as members of the Corps. They shall be co-opted, as long as they take part in the compulsory training and orientation program of the Corps which might be needful from time to time when the bill is signed into law.
If the harmonized copy of the Bill reaches the table of the Nigerian president, early enough, it will hasten his assent to it. His assent, will in turn, give the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, statutory backing, according to Part VIII of the passed bill.
Among other things, the bill seeks to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps as a body to be charged with the task of developing, empowering and providing gainful employment to youths, volunteerism, community service, facilitating peace, neighborhood watch and nation building.
Recall that the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, which was passed in 2022 by the two chambers was sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman, Senate Committee, while that of the House of Representatives was sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Monguno, Chief Whip of the House.
It was established under the National Commandant , Professor Dickson Ameh Akoh, about 24 years ago and incorporated in Nigeria under the Company and Allied Matters Act ( CAMA). It was able to attract the recognition of the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development. It has value driven programs which are positioned to empower Nigerian youths and its numerous contributions to peace building and advocacy. This has led the United Nations to accord it a Special Consultative Status in 2011.
In 2016, the African Union accorded them the same status, thereby, making it a member of the Social and Economic Councils of both the United Nations and the African Union.