•It’s Ponzi scheme, says Akpabio
From Fred Itua, Abuja
Senators, predominantly drawn from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, frustrated moves to adopt and pass a report of the Conference Committee on the Establishment of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC).
Both chambers of the National Assembly, had, last year, stepped down passage of the bill, following sharp disagreement on certain clauses in the bill. It was subsequently returned to the Senate Committee on Interior for further legislative action.
While the House of Representatives adopted its own report in January 2017, the Red Chamber has continued to stand it down, pending further legislative actions.
When Vice Chairman of the committee, Bayero Nafada, moved a motion that the report of the conference committee be considered, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, opposed it.
He said a matter relating to the constitutionality of the NPC is presently in a court of law, where the leadership of the corps is being tried for allegedly fleecing unsuspecting job-seekers.
The deputy Senste President added that it would amount to legalising illegality if the corps was established.
Senators James Manager, Emmanuel Bwacha and Godswill Akpabio stood firnly against consideration and passage of the bill.
They were supported by two lawmakers from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, senators Kabiru Gaya and Andy Uba.
The move was, however, resisted by some APC senators who also took turns to push for establishment of the NPC.
Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan and Binta Masi and other senators, who spoke in favour of establishment of the corps, alleged it was the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) that has been fighting the leadership of NPC and added that the same drama took place when the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were to be established.
Regardless, senator Akpabio has described NPC as “a ponzi scheme” and likened it to the rested Mavrodi Mondial Movement (MMM).
Akpabio said the organization was operating illegally and has been involved in unlawful collection of money from applicants. He warned that passing the bill, to legalise NPC would be wrong.
In his ruling, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the Bill would be stepped down, pending the resolution of certain grey areas identified in the report.
“We also need to relate with our brothers in the Green Chamber who have adopted this report earlier,” Saraki added.
Thereafter, the bill was forwarded to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, “to consult and appropriately advice Senate on its next legislative action.”
The committee is to report back to the Senate within two weeks.