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Senate passes Nigerian Peace Corps Bill

The Senate has finally passed the Nigeria Peace Corp Bill.

During the plenary on Tuesday, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the legislature had fulfilled a major promise, adding that it was a long journey that finally led the country to the Promise land.

The Bill, which had been in the Senate for a long time, is expected to halt the supremacy battle between the Peace Corps and the Nigeria Police Force.

The Bill, which was sponsored by Senator Bayero Nafada (APC-Gombe), is meant to empower and provide employment for the youths, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services and nation building.

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The Bill was passed by a unanimous voice vote after the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru presented a report on issues surrounding the adoption of the conference report on the Bill.

He said the major objective of the Bill, which is to provide employment for the youths, could be achieved by strengthening existing agencies and not necessarily creating new ones.

He said it would prevent the Federal Government from being overburdened. He disclosed the committee however observed that the powers and functions of the NPC called for concern and urged that they be subjected to further examination.

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“The right vested by the Bill in Clause 37 (1) (a) on members of the Corps to ‘access all records of any person or authority’ is too broad in scope and to that extent constitutes an infringement on the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution, under Section 37.

“This power is unnecessary given that the Corps is not an investigative agency,” he said.

In his remarks, the Senate President said the journey towards establishing the NPC had been a long one.

Dr. Saraki commended the committee for a good job and expressed optimism that when signed into law, the Bill would help to address the problem of unemployment among youths.

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The NPC Bill was passed in the House of Representatives in June 2016, while the Senate passed its version five months later. The two chambers set up a conference committee to reconcile the areas of differences in the Bill.

The Senate, at its plenary sitting on May 2, 2017, deliberated on report of the conference committee, and referred it to the Committee on Judiciary to investigate into some allegations against the NPC. (NAN)

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