Not too long ago there was a shocking revelation that
Boko Haram insurgents have infiltrated the Peace
Corps, a non-governmental organization which
recently applied through a bill in the National
Assembly, for establishment as a security outfit in the
country. The Police had in a statement alleged that intelligence
reports it gathered indicated that subversive groups and elements
as well as terrorists affiliates have secretly infiltrated the Corps.
The statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, CSP,
Jimoh Moshood, said the development was capable of breaching
the peace currently being enjoyed in the country. To worsen the
situation, the Police also accused the Corps of operating secret
recruitment and training camps in Abuja, Kwara and Niger states.
Certainly without any reservation this is a dangerous development
that must not be swept under the carpet. It calls for concern as well
as the need for relevant security agencies to immediately intervene
and address the situation before it becomes a serious security issue.
Conscripting or enlisting undesirable elements into any type of
organization at this time means no good for the country.
First and foremost it is risky considering the fragile security state of
the country and much more challenging when detailed information
of the recruits is not offered for vetting and integrity check. Again
giving our porous security architecture, we are compelled to
ask whether due diligence were carried out on those recruited,
what forensic apparatus or method was used or applied to ensure
only lawful and law- abiding citizens without criminal records
are recruited without enlisting Boko Haram insurgents and other
criminal elements.
Indeed the activities of the Corps as revealed by the Police in
actual fact call for grave security inquiry and once more it should be
of great concern to all Nigerians, particularly now that the country
is near Uhuru after close to a decade of Boko Haram insurgency
and the deaths and hardships they visited on Nigerians.
Unfortunately this is not the first time the Police and the DSS have
swooped on the Corps and its’ so- called and self styled commandant,
one Akor Dickson. Severally the security operatives have had to
arrest the arrow heads of the Corps severally over alleged untoward
behaviors and actions. This time the police insist that those arrested,
49 members of the group including their commandant will be
arraigned in court after proper investigation . According to Police
spokesman, Mr. Mooshood, their arrests “is in the interest of public
safety and security” . We are not against the Police and the DSS
arresting and prosecuting the group over these weighty allegations
if it will serves to avert the enlistment of Boko Haram and other
criminal elements back into the society in any form. For now the
Peace Corps is just a registered nongovernmental organization and
it si not yet a federal government paramilitary organization with an
establishing Act of the National Assembly.
It needs to be conferred a statutory or legitimate status by law
before it carries out any security function, like recruiting and
training young Nigerians in illegal camps. Currently no such
approval has been given to the body even though genuine efforts by
its promoters are on through a bill currently been harmonized by
both houses of the National Assembly to make it a security agency
in the mould of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps,
The bill still needs to be transmitted to the President for final
assent. Thereafter the necessary documentation and bureaucratic
exercise, like budgetary provisions for take-off and the constitution
of skilled security personnel, most of whom may not even be the
commandant and those currently pushing for its establishment
can commence. So every of its action and activity for now is wrong
and needs serious examination, because it has deceived gullible
Nigerians and made them believe that the body was already a
government approved paramilitary organization as well .
These issues leveled against them are serious enough in addition
to another allegation that the sponsors were also collecting
N40,000 levy illegally per person for registrations form. All these
accusation in truth are damning and in fact subversive. While we
hail the police, military and the DSS for the discovery of the security
threat posed by the Corps, we call on them to follow due process in
dealing with the matter.
There must be due diligence in the investigation before
charging Akor and co to court if indeed a prima facie case is
established. The Police must not abuse the process or be seent
to be biased against another agency possibly out to help tackle
the numerous security challenges facing the nation. It must not
perceive the Peace Corps as a rival group and frame it up ahead of
its establishment by law.
We insist in the rule of law in this case, especially as it is on record
that the DSS, Police and several existing security agencies opposed
the creation of the Peace Corps when the National Assembly
organized a public hearing to get opinions and views before it is
established. Similarly every kobo so far collected from impoverished
and desperate job seeking youths of the country must be recovered.
The Police should dig more to find out other areas the Corps
may have acted illegally, in doing so much of its atrocities will
be uncovered. And when this cleansing is properly done before
the Corps eventually gets the presidential assent and scales
through other bureaucratic hurdles, then the organization would
have been prepared and set to take off without excess baggage.
Accordingly we support the scrutiny of Peace Corps and its arrow
heads through legal means and procedures as this will serve as
a deterrent to several voluntary organizations, NGOs, Vigilance
groups, which are already assuming security roles and carrying out
illegal functions.