The House of Representatives has adopted the report of the conference committee on the Peace Corps Bill.
The House Committee of the Whole on Thursday considered the report submitted by Ibrahim Babangida (NNPP, Katsina) and adopted the recommendations.
The lower chamber had in December 2022 passed the bill. However, there were differences in the versions passed by the House and the Senate.
Consequently, the two chambers of the National Assembly set up the harmonisation committee to address the differences.
Members of the House Conference Committee are Mr Babangida, Tijani Ismail (APC, Kwara), Chinedu Ogah (APC, Ebonyi), Ibrahim Potiskum (APC, Yobe), Abdulmumini Ari (APC, Nasarawa) and Legor Idegbo (PDP, Cross River).
The Senate members are Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno) Chairman, Abba Moro (PDP, Borno), Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers), Oriolowo Adelere (APC, Osun), Eyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia) and Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa).
The Senate version of section 38 of the bill calls for the dissolution of the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria and the National Unity and Peace Corps. But the House version provides for the transformation of the existing Peace Corps into the new entity.
Presenting the synopsis of the report, Mr Babangida stated that the harmonisation committee met and resolved to go with the position of the House on section 38.
“The conference committee met with the Senators and the resolution was that the version of the House be adopted,” he said.
Section 38 (8) of the bill provides a window of opportunity for individuals, groups, associations or bodies that show or demonstrate interest to be absorbed as members of the Corps shall be absorbed subject to the mandatory basic training and orientation program of the Corps as may be prescribed from time to time when the Bill is signed into law.
The two chambers of the National Assembly will have to pass the bill before transmitting it to the president for assent.
The Peace Corps bill was passed by the eighth Assembly in late 2017 but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the legislation in February 2018, citing security concerns as one of the reasons for his decision.
He also cited paucity of funds and duplication of duties of existing security agencies by the proposed corps as other reasons for declining assent.
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