By Myke Agunwa
The Commandant General, National Unity and Peace Corps (NUPEC) Dr. Chinedu Nneji has urged the National Assembly to pass the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill to enable it count as a landmark achievement for Mr. President and also serve as an avenue to fulfill some of his electoral promises like job creation, taking out of school children off the street and strengthening the efficiency of security agencies.
Nneji added that the body will beef up security in local communities and schools, instill discipline among youths, eradicate young peoples’ indulgence on illicit drugs, prostitution and other negative vices especially in the tertiary institutions.
The Commandant General made the case in his presentation to the Senate Committee on Interior during the public hearing of the Bill which took place at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja yesterday.
Nneji who was accompanied by officers of the Corps said that the establishment of the outfit will reduce to the barest minimum, the recruitment of unemployed Nigerian youths by criminals, bandits and Boko Haram. He said that the resultant effect is a more secured business environment will create the conducive environment for the influx of foreign investors.
The NUPEC boss pointed out some of the functions of Corps as follows,
“Mediation among warring parties thereabout bringing and establish peaceful coexistence and stability among peoples and communities. Empower, develop gainful employment programme for the youths to facilitate peace volunteerism, community services, neigbourhood watch and nation building.
“Promote social and economic development by involving members, volunteers in the scheme through working with Government, Schools, Non-profit Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, etc. in order to pre-occupy youths.
“Enlist, provide distinct training and orientation of unemployed youths of divers qualifications as permanent staff and place them in a reservoir to serve as spring board for easy accessibility of manpower whenever the Nation needs their services for either permanent employment or ad-hoc staff for National International programs such as emergency relief services, voters registration, census, Immunization sanitation.
“Prevention of conflict eruption that may lead to violence crisis, loss and destruction of properties.
“Training the youth to advance the course of peace-building and conflict transformation through Peace education.
“Building the capacity the youths in the area of critical thinking, creative innovation, entrepreneurship and skill acquisition.
“Serves as orderlies to national personalities such as members of the executives, Parliament, Judiciary and Traditional Rulers etc.
“Engage members as tourist assistants to Nigerians and foreigners in the country’s tourists sites and other national and state monuments heritage.
“To empower and pre-occupy the Nigerian Youths through job creation provision of alternative employment;
“Training Nigerian youths with good virtues, strong passion and commitment to the art of patriotism, volunteerism, community services and Nation-building”.;
Going down memory lane, Nneji said that the bill was first presented to the National Assembly in 2006 in a bill that was sponsored by Senator Nkechi Nworgu in the Sixth Assembly, Senator Ben Ayade in the Seventh Assembly, Senator Binta Masi in the eight Assembly and Senator Istifanus Dung Gyang in the current ninth Assembly.
He equally recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari declined accent on the Bill after it was passed in the eight Assembly by a harmonization committee of both chambers of the National Assembly and presented to Mr. President as Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) Bill.
He said that as a multi religious and multi ethnic sovereign nation, Nigeria needs unity and national integration which the organization is in the best position to offer.
He said that the country ought to prioritize the establishment of the body because it will bring lasting peace, engage the youths positively, check insecurity in schools and training Nigerian youths on the value of unity and peace for national cohesion.