Lawmakers get commendation on Peace Corps Bill

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Nigeria’s National Assembly has been commended for the passage of the Peace Corps Bill.

The bill will allow the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) to be constitutionally recognised as a paramilitary organisation in the country.

In a fanfare manner, members of the PCN in the southwest zone stormed the streets of Lagos to celebrate the passage of the bill.

The Corps members noted that the Nigerian legislature had demonstrated a deep sense of commitment to national security and development.

Placards
The jubilant Corps brandished placards like, “THANK YOU ACTING PRESIDENT , ” WE ARE PEACE AMBASSADORS”, GOD BLESS NIGERIA, TRUTH WILL ALWAYS BE PATHWAY TO PEACE,” ” WE WISH THE PRESIDENT QUICK RECOVERY , THANK YOU NIGERIA FOR YOUR SUPPORT” NATIONAL SECURITY IS ANCHORED ON DEVELOPMENT” among others.

The Southwest Zonal Commandant, Patriot Habib Mutairu said the security challenges in the country required a complementary role from an organization like the PCN.

He said that the Presidential assent remained the only way to go after the passage of the bill by the legislature.

”From here, it is the presidential assent, this is the bill that will empower the youths of Nigeria and at the same time contribute to the overall development of the nation; this will be in the areas of complementing the efforts of the other security agencies, the Peace Corps stands for peace and you will agree with me that peace is germane to Nigeria at this time,” he stated.

No arms
On the mode of operation, the Commandant maintained that the Peace Corps, being an affiliate of the African Union and the United Nations, would not operate with arms but would depend on technology for intelligence gathering and security.

”We are not allowed to carry arms, we are an affiliate of the African Union and the United Nations, basically, it’s all about the propagation of peace, our essence is to build moral values of people and to make them better, there is room for volunteers, who are ready to partner with us in this regard,” Patriot Mutairu said.

The Peace Corps of Nigeria has over 100,000 members across the country; the bill when it finally becomes a law; automatically includes the members on the payroll of the Nigerian government.

The Nigerian Senate had on Tuesday passed the Nigerian Peace Corps bill after adopting a conference report on the bill, based on the recommendations of its committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had separately passed the bill last year, but after the harmonisation of the two separate bills, the Senate had rejected the harmonised version, which has now been approved.

Confidence Okwuchi