All is set for the transmission of the bill seeking for an Act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. This was made known through a motion on the floor of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The House of Representatives took the lead by constituting a six-man conference committee that would work with their Senate counterpart to harmonise and produce a clean copy of the bill for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
Members of the House Conference Committee are Babangida Ibrahim (Chairman), Tijani Kayode Ismail, Chinedu Ogah, Ibrahim Umar Potiskum, Abdulmumini Are and Legor Idegbo as members.
Members of the Senate’s committee are Senator Kashim Shettima, as chairman, Senator Abba Moro, Senator Betty Apiafi, Senator Adelere Oriolowo , Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and Senator Seriake Dickson.
The conference committee members are expectedly to look at the discrepancies and harmonize them before forwarding the clean copy to the presidency.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Peace Corps (NPC) Establishment Bill passed in 2022 by the two chambers was sponsored by the chairman, Senate committee on Nigerian Army, Senator Ali Ndume while that of the House of Representatives was sponsored by the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno.
Sources at the National Assembly confided in our correspondent that the harmonization would be completed before the national lawmakers proceed on campaign recess next week. One of the lawmakers who did not want his name mentioned said that the harmonized copy of the bill would reach President Buhari’s table early enough so as to quicken presidential assent to it.
The bill, among others, 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 was established over 24 years ago under the national commandant, Professor Dickson Ameh Akoh. It is incorporated in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act and accorded the federal government recognition through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
Due to the value driven programmes of the corps, aimed at the socio-economic empowerment of the Nigerian youths and its onerous contributions to peace building and advocacy, the United Nations in 2011 accorded the organization a Special Consultative Status while the African Union in 2016 accorded same status to the organization, thus, making it a member of the Social and Economic Councils of both the United Nations and the African Union.
So far, the organization has a well-structured network of offices in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory FCT. It has a membership strength of over 187,000 comprising of both regular staff and volunteers. But the bill was refused assent by President Buhari in 2018 when the 8th Assembly transmitted it to him for assent