By Agi Onda
The much-anticipated Nigeria Peace Corps Bill has arrived the Presidency for onward assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, the President’s Special Adviser (Senate), Ita Enang, has confirmed.
“The Peace Corp bill has just been forwarded to the President and it is undergoing the standard procedure,” Enang told an online publication yesterday.
He said copies of the bill, tagged ‘Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill 2017, were transmitted to President Buhari late last week by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori.
Enang said if the bill is signed, the president will retain one copy and return the remaining two copies to the National Assembly for further action.
The Senate passed the bill on November 25, 2016, shortly after the House of Representatives passed the same bill.
A conference committee of both chambers was inaugurated on December 8, 2016, to harmonise the bill.
The House of Representatives laid and adopted its conference report on January 19, 2017, while the Senate adopted its report on July 25, 2017.
Enang did not explain why it took long for the bill to be sent to the presidency.
When signed into law, the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill 2017 will give legal backing to the establishment of Peace Corps of Nigeria.
The bill will also allows all serving members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, both regular and volunteers, to be absolved into the Nigerian Peace Corps, at commencement.
The Nigerian police had stormed the Peace Corps headquarters on February 17, 2017 and arrested the head of the organisation, Dickson Akoh, and about 49 others, accusing Akoh of using the Peace Corps, registered as a non-governmental organisation, to swindle young job seekers and operate as a para-military agency.
Akoh, who denied the allegations, has since been granted bail.
The Federal High Court in Abuja subsequently ordered the Nigeria police to unseal the headquarters of the Peace Corps and pay N12.5 million as damages but the police were yet comply with the order.