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JUST IN; Peace Corps Bill passes second reading in the Senate

By Esezobor Okaima, Abuja

A bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) to empower, develop and provide alternative employment for youth to facilitate peace and community services has passed second reading in the Senate.

The passage on Tuesday was sequel to the presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor of the bill, former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, All Progressives Congress, APC, Borno South.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, Ndume who noted that the bill was read the first time in the 9th Senate on December 17, 2019, however, reminded the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan on how the Bill was introduced and passed in the 8th Senate when he (Lawan) was the Senate leader.

Ndume said, “The Bill went through all legislative processes, including Public Hearing and was overwhelmingly passed.

“The Bill also passed through all the same necessary legislative crucibles in the House of Representatives and eventually passed.”

Ndume who noted said that bill would give statutory backing to the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria, which currently had over 187, 000 members, said, “This comprises of regular staff and volunteers with a well-structured network of branches in 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.”

According to him, the Peace Corps of Nigeria, which came into existence in 1998, was an incorporated body by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), adding, “Based on its laudable achievements over the years, the Peace Corps was accorded Federal Government recognition, through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

“On the international scene, the Corps was equally granted a Special Consultative Status by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).”

Ndume further explained that the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari as a reason for withholding assent to the Bill in the 8th Senate had already been addressed in the new bill.

Senate leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, while seconding the bill, urged his colleagues to give accelerated passage to the bill, since it had already gone through the rudiments of lawmaking at both chambers in the 8th National Assembly.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan thereafter referred the bill to the Committee on Interior, for further legislative actions.

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