From Okwe Obi, Abuja
In order to solidify the fight against banditry, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) has appealed to the National Assembly to quicken the passage of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) bill as a matter of national urgency to complement the efforts of other existing security agencies to safeguard the country.
In a statement, on Sunday, GICN President, Edward Omaga, noted that if passed the Bill would give statutory backing to the Peace Corps of Nigeria to intensify its focus on neighbourhood watch as the second line of public safety as well as education of community residents concerning security, amongst other duties.
According to Omaga, “more worrisome to us is the recent shift of focus of kidnappers to schools where they have carried out mass abductions of hundreds of harmless school girls and boys studying to secure a better future.
“The recent abduction of over 300 Kankara boys from Government Science School in Katsina State, Nigeria on December 11, 2020, followed by the kidnapping of Islamiyya school students, mostly girls in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State and the kidnapping of 279 schoolgirls from Government Girls Junior Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State barely two months (February 26, 2021) later, glaringly attest to the worsening insecurity situation in the country.
“The sad reality is that nobody in any part of the country is safe. Nigerians are apprehensive over the deteriorating security situation in the country which has not only sent palpable fears in citizens but taking tolls on our economy as the development has continued to scare away more potential investors. Many Nigerians can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed.
“The core objective of the reintroduced Bill which has passed First and Second Readings in the Senate is to “develop, empower and provide gainful employment for the youth, facilitate peace, volunteerism, community services, neighbourhood watch, nation-building and related matters.
“We find it very unfortunate and ridiculous that a government which declined assent to the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC) bill passed by the National Assembly in 2018, citing basically, paucity of funds to run the proposed agency, is spending millions of Naira to compensate and negotiate with terrorists and bandits who have continued to maim innocent citizens without any iota of regard for the sanctity of life.
“The benefits that will be derived from the establishment of the Peace Corps in Nigeria as a Federal Security Outfit outweighs by far, arguments from some quarter that making the Corps a statutory agency in Nigeria will be an additional burden on the Federal Government.”