ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Following President Muhamadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill, a youth group, the African Youth Support Centre, has urged the President to reconsider his decision.
This is even as it disclosed plans to embark on nationwide massive protest to pursue its demand.
It’s Executive Director, Comrade Ben
Duntoye, during a briefing at the weekend in Abuja, said the protest
would raise awareness on the significance of the bill and its essence to tackling unemployment and unrests in the country.
He described as shocking Buhari’s refusal to assent to the bill.
The bill had passed through the Senate and House of Representatives before it was rejected by the President.
According to him, “having served as two term President of the Nigerian Youth and former President of the Pan African Youth Union, which is the umbrella body for all African Youth, I make bold to assert that the need for positive engagement of the Nigerian Youth into patriotic, developmental and economically viable ventures through various platforms is most imperative and can never be over-emphasised, of which the Nigerian Peace Corps as proposed in the Bill remains one of the most articulate and practicable concepts ever conceived towards Youth Development and Empowerment in Nigeria.”
He explained that the bill was designed to be a vehicle for mass mobilisation and engagement of the Nigerian youth into regimental community development services, domesticated para-military
volunteerism for adhoc interventions like National Clean Up Exercise, Population Census, Voter Registration and Elections, Maintenance of
Peace and Order in Schools and Public Places and general neighbourhood
services, which he noted is an existing gap in the nation’s national
“Talking about overlap of responsibility with any existing structure is totally out of place,” he added.
The funding, he said, would be sourced from international donors and
counterpart funding from abroad.
“The national outburst of jubilation across the country that followed
the news of the passage of the Bill by both chambers of the National
Assembly was a clear testimony that the NPC Bill was people oriented and commanded the general goodwill of well-meaning Nigerians.
“We still cannot comprehend the rationale behind the rejection of the
Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, since no technical or convincing
reasons were offered except the vague and inexplicit assertion of economic constraints and security concerns, which to us are inadequate and surmountable.
“The NPC can be established without full salary, but sustainable subvention till the nation’s economy improves. Again with proper legislative backing the agency can on its own source financial
support from the Organised Private Sector and development partners,and be useful in nation building, without stringent financial burden on government ourse,” he said.
He wondered why a government that vowed to create a million jobs annually for Nigerian youths would reject bill that seeks to promote youth development.