The N40, 000 the Nigerian Peace Corps is taking from mostly unemployed youth who seek job placement in the organisation covers the running cost and provision of materials, its National Commandant said on Thursday.
Dickson Akor said during a press briefing in Abuja that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission had investigated the movement as far back as 2004 and cleared it of any wrongdoing.
“The ICPC has investigated us in 2004 and established that the money is going towards training materials and we’re not extorting money from the youth,” Mr. Akor said.
He added that the Peace Corps also pay instructors to train its members at its training facilities across the country.
“We have been holding workshops and training our members and we buy them training materials and also pay honorarium to their lecturers,” Mr. Akor said.
“We also pay our existing staff and not a single one of them is earning less than N40, 000 per month even though we’re not getting any support from the government right now.”
The comments came hours after the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives harmonised the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill to give the group, which had operated as a volunteer organisation for 18 years, government backing.
The bill is expected to be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
Mr. Akor said the organisation would stop charging for services once the bill is signed into law.
“Immediately the president assents to this bill, nobody will pay a dime to be trained,” Mr. Akor said. “Nobody will pay any money for registration.”
Mr. Akor said the Peace Corps will create employment for the Nigerian youth to “promote the culture of peace” by providing community service and neighbourhood watch for nation building.
He said the services are currently not being rendered by the police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps or any other existing security agencies.