By Abiemwense Moru
President Muhammadu Buhari has formally withheld assent to the bill seeking to establish the Peace Corps and gave reasons for his action.
The President’s decision must be a great blow to the campaigners for the establishment of the Peace Corps, who at various times have had clashes with the Nigerian Police.
Buhari wrote a letter to the House of Representatives on the issue.
The letter was read at the plenary on Tuesday by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Buhari cited security concerns and financial burden of funding the organisation by the government as his reasons for rejecting the bill.
According to the President, given “scarce government resources”, funding the organisation will be a financial burden on the federal government.
Furthermore, Buhari said that the organisation was a duplication of existing security agencies.
He said the bill seeks to empower the Peace Corps to undertake activities currently being performed by extant security and law enforcement agencies.
The National Assembly passed the Peace Corps Bill in 2017, after a prolonged battle involving the organisation and the nation’s security agencies.
The bill has been widely anticipated by many Nigerians, especially the youth who believe creation of the corps will reduce unemployment.
Stakeholders, including Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, had assured Nigerians that Buhari would sign the bill
The Bill was submitted to the presidency for assent on Dec. 27, 2017.
The lawmaker also emphasised that the National Assembly could exercise its constitutional powers to override the President should if he refused to assent to the Bill.