The Nigerian Peace Corps (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 has been read for the first in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly.
This followed the reintroduction of the Peace Corps Bills to the lawmakers during Tuesday’s plenary by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume.
The bill seeks to transform the Peace Corps which operates as a non-governmental organisation into a paramilitary government agency to be known as the Nigerian Peace Corps.
The 8th National Assembly had passed the Peace Corps Bill in 2017 following a protracted battle involving the organisation and security agencies in the country.
While many Nigerians, especially the youth were hopeful that the creation of the corps would reduce the unemployment rate, the bill failed to become a law as President Muhammadu Buhari withheld his assent in February 2018.
The President had explained that he rejected the bill due to security concerns and the burden of funding the organisation by the Federal Government.
He also said the bill sought to empower the Peace Corps to undertake activities currently being performed by extant security and law enforcement agencies in the country.
Displeased with the President’s action, some members of the House of Representatives decided to revive the bill by vetoing President Buhari’s decision.
However, there was a loud negative response from members of the House when the then Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, put the motion to a voice vote in May 2018.