The Nigerian Senate has passed the Peace Corps Bill, thereby giving approval for the establishment of the Peace Corps as an agency under the Ministry of Interior.
The bill now awaits President Muhammadu Buhari’s accent before it can become law.
Presenting the report during the plenary, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Bayero Nafada urged the Senate to support the passage of the Bill, saying “the organisation will be of great benefit to the Nigerian youths.”
“In response to increasing complexity of the factors responsible for insecurity and the method by which peace and security is being undermined in Nigeria, there is need to develop comprehensive, multi-sectoral, multi stakeholders and inclusive approaches in order to stem this threats,” Senator Nafada said.
The committee recommended that the Nigerian Peace Corps and the National Unity and Peace Corps; two separate voluntary organisations that had clamoured for legal backing, should be merged as one, since both formations appear the same.
Senator Nafada said the committee received 237 written memoranda and numerous oral submissions from government ministries, traditional institutions, religious bodies, academia, NGOs, other various interest groups and individuals.
“Also fourteen (14) supported the establishment of National Unity and Peace Corps,” he revealed.
Previously, the Senate at its sitting on Thursday March 10, 2016 debated on the general principles of the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, 2016 (SB.173) sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South); and the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill, 2016 (SB.183) sponsored by Senator Binta Garba Masi (Adamawa North); and referred to the committee for further legislative action.
The committee also conducted public hearing on Wednesday April 20, 2016, where it elicited the views of the stakeholders and the general public on the merits and otherwise of the two Bills.
The Nigerian Peace Corps Bill among others seeks to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for the youths, to facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch and nation-building.
As recommended, the Head of the Corps shall be referred to as Commandant-General (CG) with six Deputy Commandant-General (DCGs) and six Assistant Commandant – General (ACGs), drawn from the six geopolitical zones which should reflect the Federal Character principle.