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The National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Ambassador Dickson Akor, has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to the Peace Corps of Nigeria bill passed by the National Assembly.

In a statement, Dickson said the president has no reason to deny assent to the bill without giving reasons for doing so.

Dickson stated: “We are not unaware of the grand conspiracy by some security agencies against the Peace Corps, especially the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in their adversarial memos to the Presidency to thwart assent to the Bill.”

“This conspiracy, which was also manifested in form of opposition during the public hearings conducted by both chambers of the NASS on the bill, was roundly defeated by superior arguments of over 500 oral and written memoranda submitted during the public hearings in the NASS”.

“After reading the entire report, it suddenly dawned on us that the authors deliberately elected to sensationalize the caption with a view to selling the Newspaper and on that note; we wish to assure the teeming members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and millions of our well-wishers nationwide that the writers merely embarked on a voyage of interpretation of the Constitution.

The truth of the matter is that out of about nine Bills that were transmitted to the President together with that of the Nigerian Peace Corps, the President rejected three and returned same to the National Assembly (NASS), stating reasons why he rejected them. And of course, the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill was not part of the rejected ones.

”The major plank of this conspiracy is that the functions of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) Bill overlap that of the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), which is far from the truth.”

Dickson therefore urged Nigerians, especially its members, to watch out for the advertorial in a national newspaper on Monday to clearly articulate the statutory functions of the Police, Civil Defence and that of the Nigerian Peace Corps.

“We wish to correct the erroneous impression created by this report, whose contents are just the authors’ interpretation of the provisions of the law, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has not assented to or rejected the NPC Bill. And if even the President rejects the Bill, he will communicate same to the NASS, stating reason(s) for doing so”.

Moreover, the Spokespersons of both chambers of the NASS, Senator Sabi Abdullahi (Senate) and Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas (House of Representatives) have clarified the issues as far as the law on this matter is concerned.

The authors also questioned the legal status of the Peace Corps, a position that smacks of mischief. For purpose of clarity, Peace Corps of Nigeria was duly incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission under the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap 1990, Part C as Nigerian Leadership and Marshal Corps, but changed to Peace Corps of Nigeria in 2002 in accordance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act. So, its legality has never been called to question and even if the Bill is not assented to, that will not stop it from functioning as an entity. The Bill is essentially to give statutory backing to the Corps.

That this report is coming out a few days after the House Committee on Public Petition gave the Corps directive to take-over its Headquarters that has been under lock and key by the Police since February 2017, a directive that was almost executed before the intervention of the FCT Commissioner of Police, is suspicious. How sad!

Sadder still is that in spite of several Court judgments pronouncing Peace Corps as a legal entity, including recent verdicts by two different Federal High Courts judges, the antagonists of the Corps have continued to disregard these valid Orders by refusing to unseal the Peace Corps office. So much for the Rule of Law!

In conclusion, we request all PCN Stakeholders and indeed the entire Nigerian youth to disregard any erroneous, malicious and none-evidence based information against the NPC Bill.

The Ogun State Commandant of the corps, Dr Olalekan Yusuf also debunked the publication.

He described the publication as the interpretation of the writer as nothing of such happened.

”There is no place in the newspaper publication where President Buhari or his aides were quoted to have stated the reason for the purported rejection. It is the antics of the enemies,” he stated.

Dr Yusuf stated: “Our bill remains with the President and until he writes the Senate and House of Reps that he has rejected it and stated reasons, we have no reasons to worry.”

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