Reps approve creation of Peace Corps


The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through third reading, a bill for an act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps, to facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch and nation-building; and for related matters.

The National Assembly had passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Establishment Bill in 2017 but President Muhammad Buhari declined assent to it on account of paucity of funds and duplication of functions of other security agencies.

The bill was reintroduced in 2019 and made it to the final stage after the issues raised by the president were resolved, such that volunteers would be on monthly stipend to be determined by the corps’ board.

The bill provides for the establishment of the Peace Corps Governing Board with functions which include: enlist, mobilise, train and orientate the youths in order to develop them as supporting agents of social order.

The corps will provide a second line of public safety, serve as a think-tank and educate residents of every community on security and safety measures peculiar to their neighbourhood.

The corps is to also uphold bottom-up surveillance through monitoring, observation, evaluation and to detect, collate and analyse intelligence data on matters that may likely cause breach of peace and security within the neighbourhood and transmit same to the appropriate security agency for pre-emptive measures and actions.

It is further expected to engage in peace advocacy, mediation and conflict resolution in order to advance the course of peace-building, reconciliation and conflict transformation in all communities in Nigeria.

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The corps is further mandated to “secure educational institutions from intruders and to combat all forms of social decadence and vices, including cultism and examination malpractices with a view to creating a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for learning.

“Serve as a reservoir and spring-board of skilled man-power as ad-hoc staff for providing social and community services such as crowd control, emergency relief services, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, voters’ registration, election duties, census, immunisation and first aid.”

It is also empowered to set up a centre saddled with the responsibility of training and building the capacity of the youths in the areas of critical thinking, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and skill acquisition; set-up well organised and structured farm settlement across the various senatorial districts in order to redirect the untapped and productive energy of the youths into large-scale and mechanised farming.

It is to set up desk at the various entry points into the country in order to register tourists and other visitors after clearance by the Nigerian Immigration Service and other relevant security agencies, and to serve as tour guards and guides to their respective destinations upon the payment of charges; as well as any other functions as may be assigned by the minister.

Clause 4 of the bill stipulates that members of the board who shall consist of chairman to be appointed by the president; two nominees each appointed by the president as members representing the six geo-political zones of the country; and chairman and members of the board shall be appointed subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Clause 11(1) of the bill provides that; there shall be for the corps, a national commandant who shall be appointed by the president and commander-in-chief subject to confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Notwithstanding any provision in this bill, the position of the national commandant shall be appointed from among the very senior officers cadre of the corps; and the appointee must have occupied an office in the corps not below the position of assistant national commandant and would have served in the Peace Corps meritoriously for a period not less than 10 years and must possess a minimum qualification of first degree or its equivalent.”

The bill further stipulates that the national commandant shall hold office; in the first instance for a term of four years and may be eligible for reappointment for another term of four years and no more; and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in his letter of appointment.

It states that members of the corps shall be Nigerians within the age of 18-35 years at the time of enlistment, while regular members and other staff shall be recruited by the board periodically to meet the personnel requirements of the corps, while the recruitment of the volunteers shall be handled by the national commandant as the need arises.

The Nigerian Peace Corps, according to the bill, is to be under the minister charged with responsibility for matters relating to the ministry of special duties and intergovernmental affairs.


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