Again, Reps pass peace corps bill, Akoh hopeful of Buhari's assent – Premium Times

House of Representatives plenary [PHOTO CREDIT: @HouseNGR]
The House of Representatives has again passed the Nigeria Peace Corps Bill, to give legislative backing to the group.
The legislation, sponsored by Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno), was passed on Wednesday after the third reading of the bill during plenary.
The House Committee of the Whole on Tuesday did the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
The bill was passed by the eighth Assembly in late 2017 but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the legislation in February 2018, citing security concerns as one of the reasons for his decision.
He also cited paucity of funds and duplication of duties of existing security agencies by the proposed corps as another reason.
Mr Ndume reintroduced the bill to the ninth Senate on 17 December, 2019 and it was passed in April 2022.
Speaking to journalists after the passage of the bill, the Commandant of the Corps, Dickson Akoh, said the issues raised by Mr Buhari have been addressed in the new bill.
He stated that the initial bill was passed at a time when the country was still grappling with the effect of economic recession.
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Mr Akoh said every issue raised by Mr Buhari was addressed in the new bill considered by the two chambers.
“When Senator Ali Ndume led the debate on the floor of the Senate, he stated that those grey areas the president raised reservations about—he only raised issues about security concerns and one or two functions given to them— those concerns have been taken care of.
“As Ali Ndume rightfully stated, he has been able to clean up the bill, whatever might be in conflict with other security agencies have already been taken care of.”
He explained that the version passed in the Senate is the same with the one passed by the House.
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Speaking on the economic implication of the bill, he said the corps currently has offices in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He also said the corps currently has over 187,000 members across the country, noting that the provision of employment for youth across the country trumps other considerations.
“The major issue that was raised, which we accepted in good faith because as of February 2017, Nigeria was passing through a recession. We are hoping that now that we are out of recession, and the government is looking for every means to address insecurity and adequate employment for the youths, we are hoping that Mr President will do justice to the bill,” he said.
The legislation, if passed, would give statutory backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria.
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