Hope not lost on Peace Corps Bill –Ohuabunwa

The Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, has assured Nigerian youth that President Muhammad Buhari will assent to the Bill establishing Nigerian Peace Corps.

The Bill, which was overwhelmingly supported and passed at the National Assembly last year, was submitted to the presidency for assent on December 27  2017.

Though the president has remained mute on whether he would sign the bill or not,  a recent headline from a Nigerian newspaper generated heat suggesting that the president might have rejected the Bill.

Reacting to the rumour, Ohuabunwa said the president had no reason not to sign the Bill, saying it was a people’s Bill which was meant to create employment.

“Speaking to the fact, I don’t really see the president withholding his assent. This is the people’s bill.

“This is a bill that will create employment for the youth and remember, when we were discussing insecurity, I made an allusion to the fact that, even these young men and women can be trained as intelligent officers like we have seen.

Security now has gone beyond machete and guns; we need a lot of intelligence, technology.

“These guys can be trained and I think this is also an avenue to reduce not only employment, but even underemployment. I want to believe that the president will jump at this and definitely assent to this Bill,” he said.

The lawmaker also emphasised that the National Assembly could exercise its constitutional powers to override the president should he refuse to assent to the Bill.

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“If the contrary happens, there is always a channel of communication, he will send it back to us then we definitely know what to do from there.

“I don’t want to preempt, but if it is true the president has withheld his assent, then we have our statutory responsibility either to veto or override the President veto,” Ohuabunwa added.

The lawmaker also frowned at the continuous siege on the office of the Corps by the Nigeria Police, saying he was misinformed that the Police had vacated the office, otherwise, he would have moved a motion to that effect on the floor.

He, however, said he would not hesitate to bring the matter up to the knowledge of his colleagues, should the police continue to lay siege on the office in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Millicent Umoru, has said the national headquarters of the Corps located at Jabi, Abuja, was still under lock and key, contrary to the rumour that the police had vacated the premises.

Umoru, while addressing newsmen, said that despite the two court orders given recently and the directive of the House of Representatives that police should unseal the office, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Bello, pleaded last week that the office would be open within seven days, but the office remained under seal afterwards.

“This promise was made last week Thursday and till now, the office is still under lock and key.

“We were there today and it was confirmed that the policemen are still there and the van is still stationed there so there is no indication that they are even ready to leave as at the time we went there,” she said.

Umoru said that the corps would return to the National Assembly and inform lawmakers that the office was still sealed up.”