A National Conscience Party (NCP) presidential aspirant, Dr. Wilson Ikubese, on Saturday urged the National Assembly to void President Muhammadu Buhari’s stand on Peace Corps Bill.
Ikubese said this can be done if the National Assembly can muster two-thirds of its members for the national assignment, saying the refusal of the President to sign into law the Peace Corps Bill passed by the Assembly was capable of creating more social problems for the country.
Ikubese raised the alarm at a news conference he addressed at the Press Centre of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alagbaka, Akure.
The aspirant said the president’s action had dashed the hope of not less than 150,000 youths who were already expressing the hope of being engaged gainfully.
While recalling that a Peace Corps member, Timothy Gambo committed suicide in Gombe when he heard of the President’s action, Ikubese called on Buhari to prevent more of the unemployed youths from committing suicide by assenting to the Peace Corps of Nigeria Bill.
He said taking about 150,000 youths off the unemployment market and engaging them productively to the benefit of society was a venture that the administration should be proud to champion, having promised to create jobs ab initio.
According to Ikubese, the excuse that the federal government cannot shoulder the remuneration of members of the corps, was not tenable when it was clear that the number of policemen in the country cannot cope with the situation on ground.
He said apart from the issue of number, a large percentage of the policemen in the country were attached to personalities.
“It is a known fact that today, in not a few cases, as much as 30 police officers are attached to a single individual! Nigeria has a population of about 186 million people and a Police population of about 370,000.
“Of the 370,000 a staggering 80 per cent of this number are assigned to private citizens, politicians, businessmen and private enterprises, leaving only 20 per cent for the core police duties of peace and security.
“In simple terms, of the 370,000 police officers in Nigeria, 296,000 are assigned as ‘private’ guards while only 74,000 are left to the core duties of policing a nation of 186 million people.
“The United Nations recommendation for Police: Citizen ratio is 1:400, meaning that every 400 people should be policed by an officer. However, with the current Nigerian situation of 74,000 police officers to a population of 186 million people, we run on a ratio of 1:2,514. This means that instead of a Police officer to a population of 400 people, we have one police officer to 2,514 citizens, leaving us six times under-policed”, he said.
Ikubese said the Peace Corps, if allowed to function, would have filled the gap of informant gathering link that is lacking in the current security situation citing the Chibok and recent Dapchi kidnap scenarios.
“The Peace Corps of Nigeria serves to meet these needs perfectly, after undergoing specialised training. So, I do not see the PCN as duplicating the function of any existing security outfit, but rather meeting a unique societal need.”
He called on the National Assembly to veto the bill by mustering two-third majority to approve the bill if the president failed to rescind its decision, because “a country that fails to engage its youths productively is a nation sitting on a keg of gunpowder.”