The National Commandant of the Nigerian Peace Corps, Professor Dickson Akoh, has been recognized by the Senate as the rightful author of the bill that the House of Representatives and upper chamber of Congress passed and sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval last month.
The bill, which was considered, harmonized, and adopted by the two chambers of the National Assembly, according to a statement signed by Senator Ali Ndume in his capacity as the sponsor in the Senate, seeks to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps.
Additionally, it stated that it is unlawful for any other organization or person to pose as the Nigerian Peace Corps.
The claims made by one Mustapha that he is the owner of the bill led to the Senate’s affirmation of Dickson Akoh’s Peace Corps as the legitimate entity that approached it and the House of Representatives for consideration and passage.
In a statement released on Thursday, Ndume said, “The attention of the Senate leadership and the National Assembly leadership has been drawn to various groups asserting claims to the Bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps, which was harmonized and adopted by the two Chambers of the National Assembly.
The Nigerian Peace Corps, which is currently led by Prof. Dickson Akoh as the National Commandant, is the only organization that sponsored the bill as it was approved by the National Assembly’s two chambers.
“The Senate has received numerous requests regarding the status of the Bill, particularly from the organization that is sought to provide statutory backing after Mr. President assents to the Bill, ever since the Bill was transmitted to him for his assent by the Clerk of the National Assembly on April 12, 2023.
To clear up any confusion, Part VIII of the Bill, titled “Dissolution of the Existing Peace Corps of Nigeria and Savings,” specifies that the Nigerian Peace Corps will replace the existing Peace Corps of Nigeria at the start of the Act. The significance of this is that the Bill’s sole goal was to legally support the Nigerian Peace Corps, which is currently run by Prof. Dickson Akoh.
In addition, according to Part III, Section 11(1) of the Bill as passed, the title of the head of the proposed Nigerian Peace Corps is National Commandant, not Commandant General as has been widely assumed.
“However, the Bill made sufficient provisions in Section 38 (8) was made to accommodate individuals, groups, associations, or bodies that have expressed or demonstrated interest to be absorbed as members of the Corps shall be absorbed subject to the Corps’s mandatory basic training and orientation program as prescribed on the commencement of this Act.
“It is important to note that this Bill cannot take effect until Mr. President has signed it into law. Therefore, it is unlawful for any group to pretend to be the Nigerian Peace Corps at this time.