By Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives yesterday failed to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto over the Nigerian Peace Corp Bill.
Recall that both chambers of the National Assembly have passed the Bill and transmitted it to President Buhari for assent, but the President refused to assent it, citing security and paucity of funds.
The House, however, reintroduced the Bill yesterday to override the President veto, but majority of the members kicked against the Bill.
The Bill was reintroduced by Hon. Emmanuel Orker-Jev. Leading debate on the Bill, the lawmaker appealed to his colleagues to pass the Bill because of the benefits attached to it.
The benefits of the Bill, according to Hon. Orker-Jev, are numerous, including creating jobs opportunities for the youths, which would in turn help to address the issues of kidnapping, robbery and other vices.
He explained that Peace Corps is already in existence, adding that what is needed is to regularize its operations, so as to address the fear entertained by Nigerians.
In their contributions, while some members of the House supported the Bill as a means of addressing insecurity, others pointed out that the Peace Corps is a duplication of efforts, insisting that government has no money to fund it.
The lawmakers, who supported the Bill, pointed out that the nation is under policed, adding that more hands are needed to man the security of this country.
Supporting the Bill, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said, “The essence of government is security and welfare. This Peace Corps can help to address the security in the country. We should not look at the funding alone, but, we should also look at the security situation in this country. The army today is overwhelmed. In my own opinion, we should support this Bill.
Hon. Rita Orji, on her part said, “Peace Corps is an avenue to create employment. We have jobless youths in our constituencies. If this Peace Corps will create jobs for us why don’t pass it. We should look into this issue very well.”
Hon. Rilwan Shawulu, who noted that the number of security personnel in the country are not commensurate with the population, added that “as at today, we have about 300 thousand police, the number is inadequate. We need about 10 percent of our population as police force that is about 18 million. We are under police. We need to increase the number of people in the security.”
Kicking against the Bill, Hon. Johnson Agbonayinma backed the position of President Buhari on the issue of funding, insisting that at the moment the Police is underfunded.
He said: “The reason why Buhari did not accent the Bill was because of security and funding. The Nigeria police is underfunded. We should look beyond the mind of Mr. President why he didn’t assent the Bill. We must do the needful. Nigeria security is not a bear parlour issue, we should look into it seriously.”
Also speaking against the Bill, Hon. Basir Babale said that there was no need bringing a new security outfit on board while others have not be properly funded.
He said: “Our securities are underfunded. The Police, Army, Navy and Air force are underfunded. Why are we bringing a new one when we cannot fund the existing ones? The Nigeria Peace Corps is a volunteer group. If we have this money, we can use it to boost the existing security forces.”