By Ignatius Okorocha
The Commandant General, Peace Corps Of Nigeria, Prof. Dickson Akor has blamed the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to Peace Corps Bill passed by the 8th National Assembly on the advice of immediate past Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.
Making this disclosure while fielding questions from journalist yesterday in Abuja,after a Public Hearing on a Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corp organized by Senate Committee on Interior and sponsored by Sen Mohammed Ali Ndume, said apart from issues raised on funding by the President the issue of duplication of functions with the Police raised by the former IG laid to the setting aside of the Bill by the President.
According to him,”the former Inspector General,Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu faulted the establishment of Peace Corps saying “it duplicates the functions of the Police.”
“As far ask am concerned there is no Agency of government as is currently constituted that is committed to developing empowering for providing employment to the youth to facilitate peace through volunteerism of neighborhood watch, community services and nation building.
“If you want to be economical with the truth there is no Agency in the country that does the same function with the Peace corps. When the bill was first passed there was provision where the Peace corps was said to have the power to arrest, investigate, prosecute criminals.
Our corps is said called “Neighborhood watch.”
He further noted,” A situation where you have well trained youth stationed in every nook and crannies of 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory, communities and the society in general for them to report o security Agencies information leading to threat in the society.
“We believe that if security Agencies are genuinely there to do the needful I don’t see why they should not support that establishment of a peace Corps in Nigeria.”
On the appointment of a Commandant of General peace Corps on the successful passage by the National Assembly and assent to be the President, Akor said he would still feel accomplished even if he was not nominated to occupy the office of the Commandant General of the Corps having been the founder and author of the bill at gave rise to its official establishment by law.
Giving a brief history of the emergence of Peace Corps, Akor said,”When I started the organisation, I applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission and it was registered in 2003 and subsequently, the Ministry of Youths and Social Development accorded the organisation its recognition in line with the National Policy on Youth Development.
“Consequently, and contrary to the submission of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Education granted the organisation to establish Peace Corps in all unity colleges in Nigeria.
“And I want say today that we have been complimenting the effort of the Ministry of Education in terms of enforcement of discipline, checking of intruders into schools and vindication of school properties.
“If you visit schools, you will find out the job Peace is doing. In the same vein, the 35 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory wanted approval of Peace Corps of Nigeria to establish its formation in all schools and colleges in their various States and I have the written approval.
“Therefore, the issue that we are duplicating responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and the Federal Ministry of Education is completely out of place.”