Tuesday, last week, President Muhammadu Buhari dashed the hopes of many unemployed Nigerians by rejecting the Peace Corps Bill, citing security concerns and financial implications. PAUL OKAH seeks the views of a cross-section of Nigerians on the development.
Buhari is on the right track
I’ve never been a fan of Buhari and his clique of ministers, but, for once, let me give thumbs up to him for refusing to endorse the bill establishing Peace Corps. Let’s ask ourselves how effective the already established uniformed outfits are performing. On what ground should the Peace Corps be established? Will their duties differ from the uniformed forces we already have, such as the police, civil defence, vigilante etc.?Enough of creating unnecessary and unwanted agencies, commissions and uniformed outfits. I say well done to Mr President for withholding his assent to the establishment of Peace Corps of Nigeria… but I’m still not his fan!
Sylvanus Ayerite, a graduate.
The police should be empowered
President Buhari did well by withholding his assent on the bill that would have led to the recognition of Peace Corps as a government agency. I don’t think that Nigeria need such a distraction now, considering the fact that the one we have are not adequately funded. I prefer adequate funding of the Nigeria Police Force and Civil Defence. In the US, the ratio of the policemen is 1/4 to the citizen. Because of this, crime is relatively low in America. There is a prompt response to distress calls and crimes solved as promptly as possible. Therefore, I would like our government to recruit more men in the aforementioned, with that same ratio. There is no need creating a totally new agency.
Michael Otu, a teacher.
Existing security outfits should be strengthened
Constitutionally, Buhari has the right to withhold his assent on a bill, after a meeting with his legal team, especially if it requires some corrections. He probably refused to sign the Peace Corps bill because of the security challenges in Nigeria. What he needs to do is to straighten the personel of the existing security outfits. We have the police, Civil Defence and other security outfits doing different jobs in the country and signing the Peace Corps bill would mean that the other outfits are not performing well. Will they be armed? Can they face the Boko Haram? What can they do? When these questions are answered then we can advocate whether they can do some other jobs the police are not doing or complement them. We don’t have the public funds for dualizing agencies.
Iheanyi Obasi, a clergyman.
It will be a welcome development
President Buhari should reconsider and sign the Peace Corps bill. The truth is that the security agencies in the country are not doing enough. They need help. The Peace Corps members have been undergoing some strenuous trainings for a long time now and I believe they will help in curbing the security challenges in the country if they are given the opportunity. We have lost confidence in the police because of their corrupt activities. Civil Defence members can be seen sitting under trees and doing nothing, while crime is increasing every day in Nigeria. Moreover, there are many unemployed graduates in Nigeria who signed up for Peace Corps and they will be kept busy if the association is formed.
Theresa Mbu, a civil servant.
Nigerians are disappointed
Buhari’s refusal to sign the Peace Corps Bill is a slight on his promise of providing jobs for the teeming unemployed youths. The Peace Corps is an organization that has over 80,000 volunteers and regulars who were faithfully hoping that the bill will be assented to by the president, but, unfortunately, he did not; thereby hanging and frustrating the hopes of many Nigerians. The situation has led to untoward outcomes among members of the Corps. The president cited lack of funds and duplication of functions as his reasons for rejecting the bill, but his excuses are flimsy. This is because, as one of the oil producing countries in the world, Nigeria has the wherewithals to embark on any kind of project it chooses. However, it is very pathetic that whenever it concerns the ordinary man, the government always cite paucity of funds but when it concerns the political looters and their families, there is always money to take care of their frivolities; which gulps more money than the needs of the entire Nigeria. There is no money, yet politicians and their cronies are still looting and paying themselves humongous salaries, allowances and other undeserved emoluments, while the common man is made to face the brunt of their financial rascality. There is no duplication of functions in the Peace Corps. Rather, what the Corps seeks to do is to complement other security agencies in Nigeria, so the talk of duplication is diversionary.
Sadiq Abubakar, a trader.
Buhari should sign the bill…
Nigeria is under-policed. The task of maintaining law and order in a complex and insecure country like Nigeria should not be left for the police and Civil Defence alone. The security challenges in Nigeria is worsening even with the help of the military,so the signing of the Peace Corps bill would have helped to reposition Buhari’s image and also act as his biggest selling point ahead of the 2019 election,that’s if he decides to contest. However, he has just handed the oppositions with something to use against him going into the campaigns. Since his coming onboard, how many jobs has President Buhari created, compared to the 50,000 jobs he promised yearly? His N-Power programme is a temporary thing and at such should not be seen as creation of employment. If the president will listen to the voice of reason by rescinding his decision and sign the bill, he will write his name in gold; like Obasanjo did when he signed the Civil Defence Corps into law. But if he doesn’t, the Peace Corps will still become law: either by being signed by another president or 2/3members of the National Assembly. Whatever happens, the truth remains that the bill will outlive Buhari and all those his advisers who are making sure that he doesn’t sign the bill for reasons best known to them.
Rosemary Mbe, a Political Scientist and Public Affairs Commentator.