On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Interior has subjected the Peace Corps of Nigeria bill to a second reading with overwhelming support from stakeholders who said, the outfit should be created to harness the teeming youths.
A public hearing on the bill was conducted alongside three others by the Senate Committee on Interior.
Senator Kashim Shettima, Chairman of the Committee in his opening remarks said the reason behind the legislative proposal among others, is to reposition and streamline the Institutional framework of the organization by strengthening its capacity to provide community policing.
In doing this, Shettima said, the Nigeria Peace Corps when officially recognised and regularised by the government through passage of its establishment bill, will offer community service to the citizenry, develop, empower and provide gainful employment for the youths.
He said: “This bill is very important in view of the fact that the Federal Government had made frantic efforts in curbing the menace of insecurity, terrorism, banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other vices across Nigeria, without expected return of peace in our land”, he stressed.
In his presentation, the founder of the Corps, Professor Dickson Akor, said the major reason for setting up the organization in 1998 was for it to serve as a veritable platform for youth engagement and productivity in the society as against different vices, many of young people indulge in.
He said: “When I started the organisation, I applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and it was registered in 2003 and subsequently, the Ministry of Youths and Social Development accorded it recognition in line with the National Policy on Youth Development.
“The Federal Ministry of Education also granted the organisation to establish Peace Corps in all Unity Colleges in Nigeria where in terms of enforcement of discipline like checking of intruders into schools and vandalization of school properties.
“If you visit schools, you will find out the job Peace is doing. In the same vein, the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory wanted the approval of the Peace Corps of Nigeria to establish its formation in all schools and colleges in their various States and I have the written approval to that effect.
“Therefore, the issue that we are duplicating responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and the Federal Ministry of Education is completely out of place.
“I want to say Mr. Chairman that based on the dynamic nature of the society, the time has come for the Nigeria Peace Corps to be elevated from the level of volunteerism to that of government-driven operational template”.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a remark before declaring the public hearing open, said observations made by President Muhammadu Buhari in the earlier bill refused assent during the 8th National Assembly, have been taken care of, in preventing such reoccurrence.