From Kayode Lawal, Abuja.
The National Assembly Conference Committee set up by both Senate and the House of Representatives to harmonize the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps completed it’s assignmenit on Wednesday thereby clearing coast for transmission of the Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
The Harmonized Report of the Conference Committee which was laid and adopted by the House of Representatives today showed that the Conference adopted the version of the Bill as passed by in terms of clause 38(2).
Highlight of the adopted report is on clause 38 (1) of the version passed by the Senate which is in conflict with the version passed by the House of Representatives as contained under clause 38 (1).
Whereas the Senate’s version seeks dissolution of the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria and National Unity and Peace Corps, the House of Representatives version of the Bill solely recommends the dissolution of the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria to be transformed into the Nigerian Peace Corps when assented to President Buhari..
The Conference report clarified that for a Bill to become an Act of Parliament in Nigeria, it must pass through the two Chambers of the National Assembly, a criteria which the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill could not attain because its Bill was never debated unlike that of the Peace Corps of Nigeria debated and passed by the two Chambers.
However, the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps expressly provided under clause 38 (8) a window of opportunity for individuals, groups, associations or bodies that show or demonstrate interest to be absorbed as members of the Corps shall be absorbed subject to the mandatory basic training and orientation program of the Corps as may be prescribed from time to time when the Bill is signed into law.
Members of the Senate’s Committee are:
Senator Kashim Shettima, Chairman.
Senator Abba Moro member.
Senator Betty Apiafi Member.
Senator Oriolowo Adelere member
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe member and
Senator Seriake Dickson member
Members of the House Conference Committee are Hon Babangida Ibrahim (Chairman) Hon Tijani Kayode Ismail, Hon Chinedu Ogah, Hon Ibrahim Umar Potiskum, Hon Abdulmumini Are and Hon Legor Idegbo as members.
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 of the Nigerian Army, Senator Ali Ndume while that of the House of Representatives was sponsored by the Chief Whip, Rt Hon Mohammed Monguno as HB17
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, Neighborhood 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 established over 24 years ago under the National Commandant, Professor Dickson Ameh Akoh is Incorporated in Nigeria under the Company and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act and accorded the Federal Government recognition through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.
Due to the value driven programs 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.