The National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Amb Dickson Akoh has refuted the story making the rounds in the media that the organization bribed members of the National Assembly to pass the bill.
Akoh was reacting to a report, which was widely published online on Saturday, which alleged that the PCN, whose bill was recently passed by the National Assembly, bribed some Senate members with cash and slots to pass the bill.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Akoh described the story as a “campaign of calumny, targeted at distracting the presidency from assenting to the bill”.
The PCN boss called on Nigerians to disregard the report in its entirety as it has no element of truth but is the figment of the writer’s imagination.
He said, “My attention was drawn to the article on social media that cast the PCN in a contemptuous light, but on a second thought, they may be referring to a rival organization, National Unity And Peace Corps led by one Mr. Chinedu Nneji, whose Bill was nipped in the bud by the National Assembly.
“The Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), as the largest youth organization in Africa, has a well-structured network of branches in all the States Capital in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with current membership strength of over 157, 000 comprising of both regular members and volunteers.
“PCN and its activities, established since 1998 in the ancient City of Kaduna, was accorded Federal Government recognition, under the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, since 2004 and is a member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
“The Corps was in 2012 accorded a Special Consultative Status by the United Nations and assigned desk offices at the UN Headquarters in New York City, USA and regional offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Vienna, Austria.
“The African Union, in the same vein, accorded PCN a special Conservative Status in 2016 on the occasion of its 18th Anniversary. Also, the Federal Ministry of Education granted PCN approval to establish its activities in all the Federal Government Colleges (Unity Schools) in the Federation since 2011. It is also affiliated to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide emergency relief and humanitarian services.
“The Corps and its leadership has received over 70 Awards, Locally and Internationally. Does it mean this Organization bribed its way to have recorded all these achievements and recognition, including bribing its way to the hearts of African Union and United Nations.
“From the foregoing, I wish to posit that it is most unfortunate that it has become a trade in stock for some individuals or groups, nowadays, to pre-occupy themselves with character assassination and distortion of obvious facts and figures against this noble objective.
“We recall too that the two Chambers of the National Assembly, as part of the legislative processes, organized Public Hearings in their respective Chambers in respect of NPC Bill.
“Over 570 Memoranda were received and 300 oral submissions made during the Public Hearings. In all of these, it was only 4 submissions and presentations that were against the passage of the Bill. Public Hearing is one of the most important part of Bill making processes.
“Does it mean Peace Corps bribed its way into the hearts of all individuals and institutions, including Federal Government Ministries/Agencies, Traditional and Religious Institutions that all advocated for the passage of the Bill?
“Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida once said, “If our Lord Jesus Christ was misrepresented, Prophet Mohammed too misrepresented in Their days of ministrations, then to be misrepresented is to be great.
“Certainly, NPC is on the part to greatness. The question now begging for answers from every rational mind is that can any youth based Organization has the financial capacity or wherewithal to bribe a single Senator or House of Representatives member, how much more of the entire National Assembly members and its leadership; some of whom where former Governors, Ministers, Business moguls, Retired Generals, e.t.c.
“After the Passage of the Bill, we do expect deliberate and calculated campaign of calumny by those who want to truncate it being assented to by the Mr President.”
Akoh, was however, optimistic that, like any other antics and tactics in the past, to frustrate the establishment of the Corps, the ongoing smear campaign against the organisation would still fail, adding that, what God has ordained, mere mortals could only fight but in vain.