- Dickson Akoh, the national commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria said two million voters have been mandated to secure their PVCs
- Akoh said members of the Corps who do not comply with the instruction would not be issued identity card during the 2019 membership re-validation exercise
- He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari is at liberty to consider the rejected Peace Corps Bill
The national commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Dickson Akoh, has charged members of the Corps to take advantage of the extension of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise and get registered.
Akoh warned that any officer or volunteer of the PCN who does not comply with the instruction would not be issued identity card during the 2019 membership re-validation exercise.
He said the Peace Corps currently boasts of 157,000 regular officers and about two million volunteers across the country.
Speaking to journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Sunday, August 19, while leading a five-man delegation of PCN to UN 67th DPI/NGO Conference in New York, Akoh said, time has come for the organisation to make a statement in Nigeria's democracy, using its numerical strength.
Akoh said: "All Peace Corps officers in Nigeria, numbering over 157 thousand and our volunteers close to two million have been told that, this is a time to make statement in democracy and then I have ordered them to renew their identity card next year, so they must have PVC. Without PVC to vote, nobody would issue identity card to any of our members nationwide."
He also expressed optimism that the Peace Corps Bill would come to light, adding that, the President has the liberty constitutionally to recall the Bill after six months and assent to it.
"We have been appealing, we would continue to appeal. We don’t blame the President for whatever action he might be taking but the agency that tends to criminalize, label the good and noble intention of the youths or citizen before the authority because we don’t have access to the government, are the same people that scrutinize documents and representation we always send.
Whether Mr. President has seen such documents, we don’t know. We would continue to appeal to Mr. President to revisit that bill," Akoh said.
Addressing the issue of lack of fund cited by President Buhari, the Peace Corps boss said, if the government wanted, it would have been absorbing the youths in phases, with the pilot phase not more than 20,000 members.
"The issue of recession is gone. You will recall when we held press conference, we prayed earnestly as Peace Corps of Nigeria for the country to get out of recession. We are out of recession. So if financial constraint is cited, I don’t think we are into that kind of recession.
"And again, if you look at what happened when the National Security and Civil Defence Corps Bill was passed, it was a gradual integration of the members into the mainstream. If we say we have 157 thousand officers and two million volunteers, it is not compulsory that everyone is carried along immediately, even if it is 20,000.
"If government can sign this Bill now, gradually, those who have been trained and other youths can be integrated, it would speak more for the government effort to create job opportunities and improve the security architecture of this country," Akoh said.
He added that the activities of the Corps are committed towards nation building and Peace Corps would not be part of anything that would ridicule Nigeria before the international community.
"Whatever is happening to Peace Corps now has its time and when the time comes, the Police will see the need to obey court orders. You are aware that just two days ago, they still invaded our office in Kano and arrested 28 excutives and clammed them into detention claiming they belong to unlawful association.
"This is a case that two federal high courts have declared illegal. It is no longer our fight as Peace Corps but an attempt to ridicule the rule of law. We are going out to project Nigeria in the highest light without saying anything that will ridicule the effort of us to move on," he said.
Since the UN granted a Special Consultative Status to the PCN in 2013, the organisation has been playing leading roles and contributing to UN policies on peace-building and youth development, by attending international functions including the UN General Assembly.
The DPI/NGO Conference of the UN is held annually across the advanced society to sample the views of Non-Governmental Organisations on how to meet the targets of the United Nations vision 2030.
The 67th Conference of the gathering of NGOs is organized by Department of Public Information DPI and is to be chaired by Ms. Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam International.
About 2000 delegates from all over the world drawn from 300 NGOs in 80 countries are expected to conference in New York City for the program which shall hold from Wednesday, August 22 to Thursday, 23.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that a human rights lawyer based in Abuja, Ahmed Jimoh, had petitioned the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, on the continued seal-off of the headquarters of the Peace Corps.
The lawyer in his petition urged the acting president to mandate the inspector general of the police and the Nigeria Police Force in general to unseal the corporate office of the Peace Corps.
Jimoh also called the presidency to direct police authorities to respect the rule of law and obey court orders directing them to vacate the office located at 57, Iya Abubakar Crescent, Abuja.
If any police officer misbehaves with you, call any of these numbers - on NAIJ.com TV