- DSS, Police, NSCDC kick against establishment of Peace Corps
Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, has been renamed Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill, after both chambers of the National Assembly had gone through thorough harmonisation of its contents.
This is just as the prolonged exertion to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps suffered major setback at the Senate, following the disapproval by the Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, towards the move.
Meanwhile, the harmonisation and renaming of the PIB by both chambers of the National Assembly marked the third time the document would pass first reading in the Senate.
The Senate and House of Representatives had recently harmonised a new draft of the bill and renamed it PIGB following a prolonged silence by the presidency on the bill as well as the continued agitation for its passage by the citizenry.
The National Assembly has been in the eye of the storm over its failure to pass the PIB in two consecutive assemblies.
Critics had blamed the legislative institution for rampant and prevalent corruption in the petroleum industry, which they said the bill set out to salvage.
The petroleum industry framework was first conceived by the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and sent to the sixth National Assembly.
The failure of the sixth National Assembly to pass the bill compelled the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan to re-present the bill to the seventh National Assembly.
However, a bill for an Act to approve the establishment of Nigeria Peace Corps, NPC, suffered serious setback yesterday as officials from Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, kicked against its establishment.
This was the outcome of a one-day public hearing held at the House of Representatives on a ‘Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Peace Corps, NPC, to empower, develop and provide alternative employment for the youth, to facilitate peace, community services, nation-building and for other matter related therewith, 2015, (HB. 89).’
The security agencies vehemently opposed the establishment of the corps, alleging that their proposed functions had been taken over by other security agencies.
A representative of the Inspector-General of Police, Cosmos Anyanwu said that the Nigeria Peace Corps had been accused of extortion, corruption and intimidation, adding that its chief executive officer, Dickson Akoh had been severally accused of criminal activities.
On its part, the DSS represented by Brown Ekwoaba submitted a written presentation, but refused to disclose the content of their submission, but it was gathered that they were opposed to the establishment of the corps.
Similarly, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, representative opposed the establishment of the corps for fear of duplication of functions and making NSCDC less relevant.
The Ministry of Interior, which controls the internal activities of the nation, kicked against the bill due to the present financial state of the country.
The ministry said, “Our main trust is that the proposed duties of Peace Corps as proposed is (sic) wide, vague and lacking in specificity. The duty they sought is unnecessary.”
A renowned lawyer, Femi Falana argued that Peace Corps exits in over 80 countries in the world, including advanced countries like Canada and United States of America, as well as in more than 25 countries in Africa.
He insisted that youth engagement would reduce crime in the society, stressing that the Technical Aid Corps set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was an equivalent to Peace Corps in America.