*Plans Mass Protest
A youth group, African Youth Support Centre, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his decision on the approval of the Nigerian Peace Corps bill.
This is just as the group disclosed plans to embark on nationwide massive protest to stress its demands.
The Executive Director, African Youth Support Centre, Comrade Ben Duntoye, during a briefing at the weekend in Abuja, said the protest will popularise significance of the bill and its essence to tackling unemployment and unrests in the country.
He described as shocking, the President’s refusal to assent to the bill.
The bill had passed through the Senate and House of Representatives before it was rejected by the President.
According to him, “having served as two time President of the Nigerian Youth and former President of the Pan African Youth Union, which is the umbrella body for all African Youth, I make bold to assert that the need for positive engagement of the Nigerian Youth into patriotic, developmental and economically viable ventures through various platforms is most imperative and can never be over-emphasized, of which the Nigerian Peace Corps as proposed in the Bill remains one of the most articulate and practicable concept ever conceived towards Youth Development and Empowerment in Nigeria.”
He explained that the proposed bill was designed to be a vehicle for mass mobilization and engagement of the Nigerian youth into regimental community development services, domesticated para-military volunteerism for adhoc interventions like National Clean Up Exercise, Population Census, Voters Registration and Elections, Maintenance of Peace and Order in Schools and Public Places and general neighbourhood services, which he noted is an existing gap in the nation’s national development efforts.
“Talking about overlap of responsibility with any existing structure is totally out of place,” he added.
The funding, he said would be sourced from international donours and counterpart funding from abroad.
“The national outburst of jubilation across the country that followed the news of the passage of the Bill by both Chambers of the National Assembly was a clear and good Testimony that the NPC Bill was both People Oriented and commanded the general goodwill of well-meaning Nigerians and the Masses.
“We still cannot comprehend the rationale behind the rejection of the Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, since no technical or convincing reasons were offers except the vague and inexplicit assertion of economic constraints and security concerns. Which to us are inadequate and surmountable.
“The NPC can be established without full salary, but sustainable subvention till the nation’s Economy improves. Again with proper legislative backings the Agency can on its own source financial support from the Organised Private Sector and Development Partners,
and be useful in nation building, without stringent financial burden on Government Purse,” he said.
He wondered why a government that vowed to create a million Jobs annually for the Nigerian Youths would reject bill that seeks to promote youth development.
“The Government should have more courage to get funds to employ young people through the Peace Corps Bill. Failure to do this will justify the Political Conspiracy Theory against the person of Amb. Dickson Akoh by some political actors in the country,” he added.