The Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman, has declared support for the Peace Corps bill passed by the National Assembly.
The bill, which seeks to turn the Peace Corps, a non-government organisation, into a government paramilitary agency, has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians.
Proponents see it as an avenue to create jobs for thousands of youth while critics describe as a duplication of functions already being performed by existing agencies and creation of another bureaucracy at a time the country is finding it difficult to pay workers’ salaries.
The bill was opposed by existing military and security institutions in Nigeria and the Peace Corps leader Dickson Akoh is currently being prosecuted for alleged fraud.
Apart from lawmakers, the bill is also supported by some prominent Nigerians including the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, who also asked Mr. Buhari to sign to it.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Katsina emir made a similar call on the president on Thursday.
The presidency has refused to comment on whether Mr. Buhari will sign the bill or not, simply saying it has not been transmitted to the president.
The Katsina emir, Mr. Usman, described the Peace Corps of Nigeria as agent of peace, unity and national integration.
Mr. Usman who is the Chairman, Katsina State Council of Emirates said Nigeria was in dire need of organisations such as Peace Corps, at a time the nation was sliding into deep crises.
He said that insecurity, hate speeches, chauvinism, agitations, quit notice, unpatriotic and selfish interest of some leaders needed to be addressed.
Speaking in his palace on Thursday when he received the national officers of Peace Corps of Nigeria, the emir said Nigeria should use the opportunity to prove to the world that “We are truly giant of Africa”.
“Religious and tribal sentiments are the greatest enemies of this country. Until we learn how to tolerate each other, no matter the tribe or religion, we would not get it right in this country,” the emir said.
Mr. Usman, who is also the Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, said other states should learn from Katsina State, where the indigenes live happily with non-indigenes and other tribes having critical positions in the emirates.
“We should be one. We live side by side, we sit down side by side to eat and drink together here. Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Birom, we should remain united. Igbos and Yorubas are my brothers and sisters, I will use my last blood to fight for one Nigeria”.
On the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, the emir pledged the total support of the Emirates in Council, urging the President to quickly assent to the bill, to help empower the teeming youth and curtail social vices in the society.
Earlier in his address, the National Commandant of the Corps, Dickson Akoh, lauded the traditional ruler for championing the course of peace and mutual integration among the indigenes and the dwellers.
While pledging total support of the Peace Corps Officers to the programmes of the emirates, Mr. Akoh also appealed for the support of the traditional council for the speedy assent of the bill when transmitted to the president.
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