The Senate on Thursday passed the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill which seeks to empower, develop and provide gainful employment for youths.
The Bill, which was sponsored by Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC-Borno), was first read at plenary on March 10, 2016 and scaled second reading.
It seeks to facilitate peace volunteerism, community service, neighbourhood watch and nation building.
The bill will also facilitate the training of youths to advance the course of peace building and conflict transformation through peace education, mediation and conflict resolution among warring groups or communities where there are crisis in Nigeria.
The passage of the Bill followed a report presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Sen. Bayero Nafada (APC-Gombe North) after clause by clause consideration.
According to the report, the head of the corps will be referred to as Commandant General with six Deputy Commandants from the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The headquarters of the corps would be domiciled in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The functions of the corps include promoting social and economic development and empowering and preoccupying the Nigerian youths through job creation and provision of alternative employment.
In his contributions, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) said that the Bill would create job opportunities and help in augmenting the efforts of security agencies.
Similarly, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi (APC-Niger) said that in tackling security issues, there was the need to use multiple approach, hence the need for the bill.
“We need to allow more participation in the security space,’’ he said.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the passage of the Bill would go a long way to institutionalise the Peace Corps that had been functioning for a long time without the backing of the law.
He expressed the hope that with the passage of the Bill, it would contribute to the achievement of peace and stability in the country.
Briefing journalists after plenary, the Commander General of the Corps, Dr Chinedu Nneji, said that the passage of the Bill was the beginning of a new era that would help in ensuring total peace in the country.
He said “we will permeate and move into our various communities to ensure that we bring total peace to Nigeria.
“We will also make sure that the issue of Boko haram, which the Nigerian military had reduced to the barest minimum, becomes
a thing of the past.”