MANY Nigerian youth, who have
been members of the Peace Corps of
Nigeria, PCN, established in the early
90s, see hope of employment of late,
especially when the bill to establish
the Nigerian Peace Corps, NPC was
passing through legislative processes
in both chambers of the National
Assembly- the Senate and House of
Representatives, respectively.
The bill is intended to empower,
develop and provide employment
for the country’s teeming youth
population. The corps is to therefore
serve as a platform to engage able
bodied young men and women to
intervene in national security and
emergency situations, especially in
tertiary institutions.
The Nigerian Peace Corps Bill was
passed at the National Assembly in
2016, and a conference committee
of both chambers inaugurated to
harmonize the two versions of the bill.
While the House of Representatives
adopted its report in January 2017, the
Senate has delayed its own version.
But total hope was almost dashed
recently when senators were divided
following strong opposition at the
stage of adoption of the conference
report on it in the senate on May
2. However, the bill is likely to see
the light of the day after all. The
initial setback was sequel to the
presentation of the report of the
conference committee of the Senate
and the House of Representatives
chaired by Senator Usman Bayero
Nafada (APC Gombe North).
The Senate had last year given legal
backing to the bill and, thereafter,
transmitted it to the House of
Representatives for concurrence,
which was done. But unfortunately,
the process of completing the passage
process failed as some senators
like the Minority Leader, Senators
Godswill Akpabio (PDP Akwa Ibom
North East) and James Manager
(PDP Delta South) strongly opposed
passage of the bill for establishment
of the corps. They cited litigation
between the sponsor of the bill, PCN
and security agencies like the Police
and Department of State, DSS as main reason for their disagreement.
Senator Akpabio argued that any
individual or group that wanted to
empower the youth could do so without
the Act of the National Assembly,
alleging that founders of the corps had
been operating illegally with some of
them being addressed as “General”,
“Field Marshal” and “Commandant
General”. He harped on the litigation
issue between the PCN and the police in
particular. But Senator John Enoh (APC
Cross River Central) and Binta MasiGarba
(APC Adamawa North) urged
support for the bill, noting that it would
help tackle problem of unemployment
and that the Senate should not reverse
itself having first passed the bill.On the alleged extortion by the PCN
National Commandant, Dr. Dickson
Akor, Senator Masi-Garba informed
that the amount paid by each staff was
meant for uniform, kits, accommodation
and feeding, among others, even as
she argued that majority of the men in
Nigeria Police Force, like many in other
security agencies, used to buy their
uniforms.
Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed
Lawan said there’s no need for the upper
legislative chamber to stop its process
on the bill due to any court case on it.
He warned the senate against laying a
precedence that will motivate anybody
to approach the court anytime a bill is in
the works in the chamber.
According to him, opposition by the
Senator David Umaru (APC Niger
East) and submits its report within
two weeks.
Earlier, the House of
Representatives had said the Nigerian
Peace Corps Bill had not created
room for the merging of the Corps
with any other security outfit. Apart
from the Peace Corps of Nigeria,
PCN, another organization, National
Unity and Peace Corps, NUPC is
laying claim to be sponsor of the
NPC Bill. But the Chairman, House
Committee on Media and Publicity,
Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said no
bill with a name “National Unity
Peace Corps Bill”, was introduced to
the House.
Hon. Namdas also said the NPC
Bill had not called for merging the
corps with the NUPC. “This is one
thing the House would like to clarify.
We do not have any bill known as
National Unity and Peace Corps. So,
the insinuation in the public citing the
harmonisation of Peace Corps with
the National Unity Peace Corps does
not arise”, he said.
“However, there is a provision
of the law that provides that
people of common interest could
be accommodated. The provisions
of the law give room for groups
or association that have similar
objectives and have shown or are
interested shall be absolved as
members of the Nigerian Peace
Corps. Such people would be
subjected to the corps’ mandatory
training structure and teaching
programme as prescribed from time
to time upon the commencement of
this act”, he explained.
In throwing its weight behind the
establishment of NPC, the NSCDC
said it has nothing against the Corps.
At a recent session of the Senate
Committee on Judiciary, Human
Rights and Legal Matters to carry
out investigation and subsequently
advise the Red Chamber on the next
legislative action concerning the
Peace Corps with some stakeholders,
the NSCDC Deputy Controller, Musa
Farouk, who spoke on behalf of the
commandant urged the Senate to go
ahead with the establishment of NPC,
saying it had no opposition to it.
Farouk said the services of Peace
Corps officers were needed at
the moment, due to inadequate
security operatives to combat the
increasing criminal activities in
Nigeria. According to him, the Peace
Corps and NSCDC have different
roles, except for ‘Peace and Conflict
Resolution’ clause, which he urged
the Senate to streamline, so as to
avoid conflicts in the future.
security agencies, especially the Police
should not be allowed to stop the bill
from being passed into law. He recalled
that Nigeria Security and Civil Defence
Corps, NSCDC and the Association
of National Accountants of Nigeria,
ANAN faced similar opposition from
the Police Force and the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Nigeria,
ICAN before they were eventually
established by law.
In his ruling, the Senate President, Dr.
Bukola Saraki said the process of the bill
be stepped down to enable the Upper
House review issues raised and relate
with the House of Representatives.
He, however, referred the matter to the
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human
Rights and Legal Matters chaired by Senator David Umaru (APC Niger
East) and submits its report within
two weeks.
Earlier, the House of
Representatives had said the Nigerian
Peace Corps Bill had not created
room for the merging of the Corps
with any other security outfit. Apart
from the Peace Corps of Nigeria,
PCN, another organization, National
Unity and Peace Corps, NUPC is
laying claim to be sponsor of the
NPC Bill. But the Chairman, House
Committee on Media and Publicity,
Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said no
bill with a name “National Unity
Peace Corps Bill”, was introduced to
the House.
Hon. Namdas also said the NPC
Bill had not called for merging the
corps with the NUPC. “This is one
thing the House would like to clarify.
We do not have any bill known as
National Unity and Peace Corps. So,
the insinuation in the public citing the
harmonisation of Peace Corps with
the National Unity Peace Corps does
not arise”, he said.
“However, there is a provision
of the law that provides that
people of common interest could
be accommodated. The provisions
of the law give room for groups
or association that have similar
objectives and have shown or are
interested shall be absolved as
members of the Nigerian Peace
Corps. Such people would be
subjected to the corps’ mandatory
training structure and teaching
programme as prescribed from time
to time upon the commencement of
this act”, he explained.
In throwing its weight behind the
establishment of NPC, the NSCDC
said it has nothing against the Corps.
At a recent session of the Senate
Committee on Judiciary, Human
Rights and Legal Matters to carry
out investigation and subsequently
advise the Red Chamber on the next
legislative action concerning the
Peace Corps with some stakeholders,
the NSCDC Deputy Controller, Musa
Farouk, who spoke on behalf of the
commandant urged the Senate to go
ahead with the establishment of NPC,
saying it had no opposition to it.
Farouk said the services of Peace
Corps officers were needed at
the moment, due to inadequate
security operatives to combat the
increasing criminal activities in
Nigeria. According to him, the Peace
Corps and NSCDC have different
roles, except for ‘Peace and Conflict
Resolution’ clause, which he urged
the Senate to streamline, so as to
avoid conflicts in the future. At the session, National
Commandant of PCN, Dr. Dickson
Akor said they had secured 11
judgments delivered at various
courts in the country against the
Nigeria Police. According to him, at
various rulings, the courts awarded
cost to the police, running to millions
of naira, but decide not to pursue the
payment since it would come from
the federal government’s purse.
He admitted that his organization
collects N40, 000 from prospective
cadet for provision of uniform and
other kits, but his counterpart from
the NUPC, Chinedu Nneji said they
collect nothing from any Nigerian
interested in joining them, a policy
he added, made NUPC not to have
problem with Police or DSS over the
years as against PCN that have been
having running battles with them over
conducts considered to be illegal or
fraudulent in nature.
Irked by the submission, Akor fired
back by informing the committee that
it is the Nneji-led NUPC, that has
actually been involved in high level
of extortion from job seeking Nigerian
youths by collecting huge amount
of money ranging from N150, 000 to
N450, 000 from them for recruitment
and ranking.
“Distinguished sirs, I didn’t want
to say anything further on alleged
extortions after making the needed
clarifications with submissions I made
earlier as regards our problem with the
Police but since the NUPC man has
decided to stand truth on its head by
openly lying against us here that PCN
and not NUPC, is the one indulging in
extortion of job seekers, I will expose
him in that regard for all to see.
“As against N40,000 we collect from
prospective cadet in PCN, NUPC
under Nneji as Commandant General
collects within the range of N150,000 to
N450, 000 from job seekers desperately
seeking for a platform to get one.
“Receipts issued by NUPC to some
of these hapless job seekers are in our
possession and we are ready to tender
them as exhibits against him aside
other vital incriminating documents
like letters written for rank placement
for some of those already recruited
and personally signed by Dr. Nneji
who was not even the founder of
NUPC but somebody who joined the
organization about four years ago and
has now hijacked it completely from
the founder, Professor Humphrey
Ogoebunam”, he said.
According to him, what Nneji did
to Ogoebunam, the founder of NUPC,
is what he is trying to do to PCN, the
originator of the bill passed by both
chambers of the National Assembly
as NPC Bill by fraudulently changing
the logo, symbol and identity card of
NUPC to that of Nigeria Peace Corps
as boldly displayed by him here at
this session despite the fact that the
Bill itself is yet to be transmitted to the
President for assent and the President
assenting to it.
The bashing of Nneji at the session,
worsened when the Committee gave
the floor to the founder of NUPC to state
his own side of the story. Ogoebunam
said he founded NUPC in 1987 for
inculcation of pacificatory altitude in
youths towards achieving total peace
in the land but on account of ill health
in 2013, he assigned Nneji who was just
some months old in the organization
based on recommendations of some
of his lieutenants then, to lead the
organization in his absence while away
to treat himself, a decision he said is
regretting now because not only has
Nneji taken over the organization
completely but has gone to
Corporate Affairs Commission,
CAC to effect changes in names and
signatories on NUPEC documents.
Ogoebunam added that all efforts
he had made since his recovery from
the sickness to lead the organization
again proved abortive as Nneji kept
on using several means to block him
even to the point of threatening his
life as it was the case last year when
the Senate Committee on Interior
held a public hearing session for the
NPC Bill.
The committee at the end of the
whole debacle ordered the three
dramatis personae to put in writing
all the submissions they have made
and forward to its secretariat not
later than one week.

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