By Musa Baba Adamu
Senate yesterday passed for second reading, Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill sponsored by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC Borno South).
Recall that the bill in the 8th National Assembly, had scaled through all the legislative processes and got passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, but was denied assent by President Muhamnadu Buhari on economic ground.
Senator Ndume who sponsored the bill in the 8th Senate, re- sponsored it in the current 9th Senate, citing youth employment and insecurity at the grassroots as his reasons for reintroducing the Bill.
Ndume, in his lead debate on the bill said “The core mandate being sought by the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill, is to develop, empower and provide gainful employment for the youth to facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch, Nation – building and for other related matters”.
He explained that the Bill, when passed and signed into law, will give statutory backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, which currently has over 187,000 members, with well structured network of branches across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
He argued further that since the youths based on statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), accounts for 55.9% of the Nigerian population, with a staggering unemployment rate of 27.1%, saying that giving the Peace corps legal status, will help a lot in solving the problem of employment and attendant vices.
He said “From the core mandate and functions of Peace Corps as contained in part 1, section 2 of this bill, the Nigerian Peace Corps, when established, beside engaging millions of our unemployed youths on permanent basis, has the capacity of complementing the functions of conventional security agencies”.