© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Senate To Reconsider Peace Corps Bill
The Senate has said that it will not be in a hurry to pass the bill seeking for the establishment of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, following recent developments surrounding the organization.
Recall that the upper legislative chamber had already concluded work on the bill and it was expected that a joint committee of the two chambers of the National Assembly would be formed to harmonise the bill before forwarding it to the President for assent.
But at Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers resolved that owing to fresh revelations by security agencies, there was need to tread with caution in passing the bill.
Recall that the commandant of the corps, Dickson Akoh, was arrested alongside several other members of the group, when security operatives raided their headquarters located in the Gwarinpa area of Abuja in March this year.
The Police accused the group of among other things, wearing uniforms and ranks without authorization, conducting clandestine military training across the country, defrauding vulnerable unemployed Nigerians in the guise of offering them employment into the corps and stocking of weapons.
Akoh has since been arraigned in court on a 90-count charge.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, contributing to the discourse on Tuesday, said that the various issues raised by the country’s security agencies must not be swept under the carpet.
“A lot of people have been deceived. The senate should not be a stamp for fraud,” he said.
Senate President Bukola Saraki however pointed out that the Peace Corps bill was not being stepped down because of the matter in court but because there were issues that needed to be dealt with.
He said: “I think there are a number of issues, and I think we need to be guided by our rules by not setting bad precedent.
“The fact that it is in court should not be an issue. We have to also look at the relationship with the green chamber but at the same time there are issues.
“We are going to consider the relationship with the other chamber and some of the issues raised here and the chairman judiciary will look into some of these issues and come back to us and hopefully some of the issues will be addressed.”