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, NSCDC. 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.


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