By Sunkanmi Onifade
The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) on Friday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his decision of not assenting to the Peace Corps Bill passed by the National Assembly.
The National Commandant, PCN, Mr Dickson Akoh, made the call at the Board of Trustees and National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja.
“We want the President to assent to the bill, if not for any reason, but for the social and productive engagement of our teeming youths in line with his campaign promises.
“The President’s withholding his assent to our bill notwithstanding, we will continue to have esteem confidence in Mr President’s leadership,’’ he said.
Akoh said the bill was meant to give statutory backing to the organisation, with the core mandate of empowering the youths, facilitating peace, volunteerism and community service.
He noted that the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bill 2017 was not rejected by the president for its weakness but for the conceived pretexts.
“In every ideal democracy and advance society, government should seek to explore all avenues to empower and socially engage the youth in order to reduce the social consequences of their idleness.
“It is therefore, towards this aim that I wish to restate for the umpteenth time that similar organisations like the Peace Corps exist in several other countries of the world including the America, Canada, Bangladesh and so on,” Akoh said.
The commandant said the function of the Nigerian Peace Corps as captured in the bill do not in any way conflict with the function of any existing security agency.
“There was never a time in the history of our country that the need for peace has become fiercely urgent like now.
“The role of the Peace Corps is clearly distinct from the conventional security and para-military organisations hence its placement under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development.
“The powers conferred on the Nigerian Peace Corps in the bill do not also involve arms bearing, investigation, detention and persecution,’’ he said.
Akoh explained that one of the principal objectives of the corps was the deployment to schools and colleges to promote peace, sniff and sieve intelligence, saying this could had prevented the abduction of the Dapchi school girls in Yobe.