Plan recruitment of 2,000 cadets in Lagos

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) at the weekend debunked allegation that it asked would-be cadets to pay the sum of N45,000 to obtain recruitment forms, describing the claim false and untrue.

The corps, a volunteer programme of the United Nations, added that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had investigated its recruitment activities and procedures and given a clean bill of health.

The Zonal Commandant in charge of South-west and Lagos, Mr. Mutairu Habib, disclosed this at a news conference he addressed last Saturday in Alausa alongside other officers of the organisation.

Contrary to an allegation that it charged N45,000 for recruitment forms, Habib clarified that the corps only sold the form at N1,500, though would-be cadets were asked to pay a donation of N40,000.

He said there was nothing untoward in the collection of the sum of N40,000 from intending cadet by the corps, noting that the money was meant for training cadets; procuring uniforms; providing medical service and securing them accommodation during training.

Habib noted that the intending cadets would be given about 15 items, adding that the donation “is heavily subsidised. It is a voluntary donation since the corps is still a non-governmental organisation.”

Although both the Senate and House of Representatives had passed the bill for the establishment of the Peace Corps of Nigeria as a paramilitary institution into law, the zonal commandant said President Muhammadu Buhari “is yet to accent to the bill.”

So, he noted that the corps “is still non-governmental organisation until the president accents to the bill. The EFCC and ICPC have equally investigated us and cleared us on this issue. Our processes and procedures are fair and transparent. There is nothing hidden in it at all.”

Habib said because Lagos and Kano States “have a very large population, the states are allocated highest quotas of over 4,000,” noting that the major challenge the corps “is facing in Lagos State presently is its inability to fill the 2,000 slots given to the state.

Habib implored the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to ensure that the slot allocated to Lagos is filled, saying the governor could acquire the forms and give it free of charge to motivate youths in the state.

He explained the core responsibilities of the corps, noting that it would not only carry arms but also deploy sophisticated high-tech tracking devices that would help its personnel to effectively tackle problem of cultism, bribery, kidnapping and other sundry crimes rocking the country

The zonal commandant added that the new high- tech device being considered would help to checkmate erring personnel of other security agencies and that the era when crimes would be swept under the carpet for lack of proper investigations was over in the country.

He said the difference between the corps and other security agencies “is that it will be working with the UN with offices all over the world. The UN has outlined programmes the corps will engage in.

“There will not be duplication of function between the Nigerian Peace Corps and other security agencies, rather, it will play complimentary role to other security agencies. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) was set up to protect infrastructure, most especially pipelines.

“But today, it is not only the agency protecting pipelines, the Army, Navy and Airforce are all involved. The job of the corps is basically on schools and universities to inculcate discipline in the students, checkmate examination malpractices and indiscipline. We are going to schools to arrest cultists and refocus people’s minds from negative to positive,” Habib said.