The National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Dickson Akoh, has said he believes the bill to establish Nigerian Peace Corps is not dead.
Mr Akoh stated this on Monday while reacting to the decision of the members of the House of Representatives to reject the second reading of the bill, thereby failing to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the earlier passed bill.
Mr Akoh said he believes news reports that the bill was dead is “mischievous, highly misleading and a misrepresentation of facts”.
“Any discerning mind will know too that it is not the bill itself that suffered a temporary setback via rejection, rather, it is the overriding process initiated by the House of Representatives.
”Therefore, without any fear of contradiction, let me say it loud and clear that the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bil is not dead as widely publicised, but still alive and on course”.
However, while Mr Akoh said he believes the bill is not dead, the decision by the House of Representatives means they can no longer override the president’s decision; meaning unless Mr Buhari recalls the bill, it can no longer become law.
The Peace Corps chief said the bill has a lot of merits; reason, he said, both chambers of the National Assembly ”overwhelmingly supported and passed the Bill in the first place”.
He said there was, “a deliberate gangup against the bill and its good intentions were highly misrepresented by those who have access to Mr President.” He added that it was on that premise that the president withheld his assent.
He expressed disappointment over the lawmakers’ decision.
He said it was “a clear case of approbate and reprobate”, which he said was caused by “subtle threats anchored on political interests.”
“The youth now know their enemies as the members who spoke against the overriding only succeeded in trading this all-important youth friendly Bill on the altar of securing re-election tickets,” Mr Akoh said.
Mr Akoh however said the organisation would remain grateful to the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and the leadership of the House of Representatives for standing by the bill.
Mr Akoh expressed hope that “the politically-motivated challenge” currently facing the corps would still be resolved.
He called on personnel of the corps to remain calm and law abiding. The commandant assured the public that, ”like the Freedom of Information Act, the Peace Corps Bill, which has already been passed by the National Assembly, would be assented to, sooner than later”.
An attempt to override President Muhammad Buhari’s veto on the bill was rejected by members of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
President Buhari had on February 27 declined assent on a Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Peace Corps, citing paucity of funds and duplication of duties of existing security agencies as main reasons.
With the setback suffered on Thursday, the bill is now left at the mercy of the executive arm of government, which reserves the right to recall it and take a second look.
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