By Alex Enumah
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has indicated that President Muhammadu Buhari is now favourably disposed to giving,_ assent to the Peace Corps Establishment Bill currently before the National Assembly.
Senator Ndume said that the refusal of the president to sign the earlier bill passed by the 8th National Assembly was predicated mainly on lack of fund and duplication of functions by security agencies.
The senator, who spoke at the Founder’s Day/22nd anniversary celebration held at the headquarters of the organization in Abuja, disclosed that the areas of conflict pointed out by President Buhari in the earlier bill have been removed and the aims and objectives of the Peace Corps of Nigeria clearly spelt out in the new bill.
Ndume, who is the sponsor of the bill which has passed second reading in the two chambers, remarked that government ought to have been the one to champion the establishment of Peace Corps as done in other climes.
He pleaded with the National Commandant of the Peace Corps, Ambassador Dickson Akoh, and his officers and men not to be discouraged with the earlier position of President Buhari.
“I have met with President Buhari and complained on his refusal to assent to the earlier bill but the president cited lack of fund and duplication of duties.
“I took time to explain in details the functions and aims of the Peace Corps especially in the area of mobilization of youths for national development and in the end the president has indicated positive responds to assenting to the bill.
“I am positive that the Peace Corps bill will be signed into law this time around by President Buhari so that its aims and objectives would be achieved,” he said.
Ndume said he had been delaying the final decision of the Senate on the bill to enable him make some amendments that will avoid the past pitfall.
Also speaking, the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Mohammed Mongunu, disclosed that the Peace Corps bill was brought back for a fresh consideration because of its general importance to national development and expressed optimism that Buhari will sign the bill that will soon be passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Mongunu said that the unity of Nigeria which is one of the cardinal points in the Peace Corps bill must be encouraged to prevent divisive tendencies among the youths and to galvanise their potentials as future leaders.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, said that the conduct of security agents in the enforcing of the Covid-19 lockdown is been properly monitored to ensure that Nigerians are not unjustly treated, adding that about 209 cases of human rights abuses received by his commission are being investigated and would soon come out with the findings.
Ojukwu, whose keynote address was delivered by his special adviser, Mr Okay Aku, appealed to Nigerians to bear the hardship caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, adding that it is in the interest of the general survival of the citizenry.
Earlier in a welcome, the National Commandant, Peace Corps, Ambassador Akoh, said that the organisation is fully on course towards attaining its core mandate which is to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for the youths as well as to facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services and nation building.
Akoh explained that in the course of advancing volunteerism, officers and men of the organisation were deployed in states of the federation to complement the efforts of security agencies in enforcing the necessary lockdown imposed by the federal government.
The National Commandant, whose organisation also launched fair, appealed to friends, associates and public spirited members of the public to support the Peace Corps with funds to enable it continue with its act of volunteerism, humanitarian services and youth empowerment.