The National Assembly has started the process of transmission to the Presidency of the bill to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps with the final harmonization of the bill by the two Houses.
The House of Representatives took the lead on Wednesday by constituting a six-person Conference Committee that would work with its Senate counterpart to harmonize and produce a clean copy of the bill for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.
The members of the House Conference Committee are Babangida Ibrahim (Chairman) Hon Tijani Kayode Ismail, Hon Chinedu Ogah, Hon Ibrahim Umar Potiskum, Hon Abdulmumini Are and Hon Legor Idegbo as members.
The Senate went on to create its own Committee consisting of Senator Kashim Shettima, Chairman, while Senator Abba Moro, Senator Betty Apiafi, Senator Oriolowo Adelere, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, and Senator Seriake Dickson are members.
The members of the Conference Committee are expected to analyze the discrepancies and harmonize them before sending the clean copy to the Chair.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) Establishment Bill passed in 2022 by both Houses was sponsored by the Chairman of the Nigerian Army Senate Committee, Senator Ali Ndume, while the House of Representatives was sponsored by Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno as HB17
Sources from the National Assembly confided to our correspondent that the harmonization would be complete before the National Deputies go into campaign recess next week.
One of the lawmakers who did not want to be named said the harmonized copy of the bill would reach President Buhari’s desk soon enough to expedite presidential consent.
The bill, among others, seeks to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps as a body charged with the responsibility of developing, empowering and providing youth gainful employment, peacemaking, volunteering, Community Service, Neighborhood Watch and the construction of the nation.
Part VIII of the approved bill, when signed into law by President Buhari, would give legal backing to the existing Nigerian Peace Corps.
The Nigerian Peace Corps established over 24 years ago under National Commander, Professor Dickson Ameh Akoh is incorporated in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Affairs Act (CAMA) and received recognition from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry Youth Development.
Due to the Corps’ values-based programs aimed at the socio-economic empowerment of Nigerian youth and its onerous contributions to peacebuilding and advocacy, the United Nations in 2011 granted the organization special consultative status, while the African Union in 2016 granted the same status to the organization, thus making it a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Councils and the African Union.
Until now, the organization has a well-structured network of offices in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
It has a membership strength of over 187,000 which includes regular staff and volunteers.