By Yemi Itodo
The United Nations has granted 7 slots to the Officers of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC), to enable it participate in all United Nations meetings and conferences, including that of the General Assembly, for the year 2017.
This was even as the Corps has successfully concluded its annual accreditation for the membership of the UN regular committee on Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the current year.
Addressing newsmen at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Wednesday, the National Commandant of Nigerian Peace Corps, Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, said he led the NPC delegation to the 2017 regular session of the UN, to discuss issues of growth and development, as they relate to Nigerian Youths.
“At the committee on Non Governmental Organisations level, emphasis this year, was focused on global partnership, synergy and cooperation involving civil society organisations, in pursuant to the attainment of the 2030 development agenda”, Akoh said.
According to the National Commandant, the knowledge acquired by the Officers of the Corps shall be used as focal point for the orientation of all members of the NPC and Nigerian youths in general.
Akoh also revealed that the Nigerian Peace Corps has been enjoying a consultative status with the United Nations over the years, and that the Corps is currently a member of the Social and Economic unit of the UN.
On the controversies over the Bill passed recently by the National Assembly, Akoh described as “unfortunate”, the misinformation in the public domain, “orchestrated by the National Unity and Peace Corps (NUPEC)”, saying some people were playing sentiment with national issues.
“While we were away, through the social media, we read a lot of controversies on the Bill passed. The controversies are unnecessary. You don’t force yourself into a marriage with a lady or a lady forcing herself into marriage with a man.
“The Bill passed is very clear. The Senate passed the National Unity and Peace Corps Bill (SB.183) in merger with that of the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill (SB.173); but the National Assembly finally passed only one Bill which is Nigerian Peace Corps Bill.
“In section 37(g), there is a clause which allows any organisation, body or group that demonstrates interest in being members of the Corps, to approach the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
“The more worrisome was the report published on Leadership Newspaper. It is very wrong to bring ethnicity into a national issue. I am not selfish about the activities of the Nigerian Peace Corps and I also know that the President is at liberty to appoint anybody, to head the Corps, but the truth must be told”.
Amb. Dickson Akoh also debunked the report published on a banner headline of leadership newspaper of Friday, 27th January 2017, that the Corps was forcing “desperate” job seekers to pay N48, 000 before they are recruited.
According to him, “the whole write up was a mess and it questions the integrity and professionalism of the media house that claims to be reporting our issues.
“All through this year, the National Unity and Peace Corps, which is headed by the kinsman of the writer of the story on leadership newspaper, has been the one recruiting at random and there is no limitations to the amount of money people are paying.
“Over the years, since 2007, people have been paying N40, 000 for accommodation for one month, complete training materials, complete set of uniform and medical care for one month. You are aware of the exchange rate and cost of things now, and you would tell what N40,000 can buy right now. We are open to any kind of investigation”!
The National Commandant also condemned the calculated attempt to rubbish his name through the media but advised that those behind it should not bring down the seed which many Nigerian youths are anxiously waiting to benefit from.
He also advised those lobbying for the position of National Commandant to do so with their “eyes widely open”, so as not to “lobby blindly”.
Akoh said “We must not be notorious to attain power! Power comes naturally from God. So, if you are out to destroy Dickson Akoh, don’t destroy the road that hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths would benefit from.
“Some people are already lobbying to become the National Commandant, but you don’t lobby blindly. The Bill is very specific, that, both the leadership and everybody in the Peace Corps of Nigeria, including the assets, liabilities, personnel, positions, and others; that status quo should be maintained, at the commencement of the Bill.
“So if you want to lobby, lobby with your eyes widely open, not blindly”.
He assured the members of the public that “notoriety and insecurity” would be issues of the past, when the Nigerian Peace Corps is eventually established.