Buhari rejects Peace Corps bill over security concerns, financial constraints

President Muhammadu Buhari has in a letter sent to the House of Representatives rejected the proposed Peace Corps Establishment Bill.

In the letter, read on the floor of the House yesterday by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, the President cited security concerns and financial constraints of funding the organisation by the government as his reasons for declining assent to the bill.

The National Assembly passed the bill in 2017 after a prolonged battle involving the organisation and security agencies, especially the police.

In another development, the House has ordered the Ministry of Finance to look into the indebtedness and source for funds to offset the N9.1 trillion debt owed local contractors in the last three years as reflected in the report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Adopting a motion by Aliyu Da’u at the plenary session presided by Dogara, the House mandated its Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management to determine the efforts of the DMO in relation to Federal Government’s inability to pay local contractors.

The committee is also to investigate the actual indebtedness of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government to local contractors in the last three years.

Also, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has described the allegation by Buhari that the party squandered $500 billion oil proceeds within 16 years as baseless, unfounded and unsubstantiated.

The party, therefore, urged the President not to allow his aides to railroad him into peddling such allegations and bandying of unverified figures, as doing that could detract his personality.

In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the figures alluded to by the President did not even tally or reflect the actual oil related profile of the nation during the said period and urged the President not to allow his handlers set him up for public ridicule.

The party “challenged President Buhari to name one corrupt person within its fold and get a list of an army of corrupt persons who are hiding in his APC, including those who funded his 2015 presidential campaigns with stolen money in addition to his many cronies who are now frittering away billions of naira under his watch.”

The PDP alleged that “the Presidency is yet to address its complicity in the heavy sleazes in the National Health Insurance Scheme where billions of naira have allegedly been siphoned by their agents, in spite of the Treasury Single Account (TSA); the alleged diversion of N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil and the frittering of billions of naira meant for rehabilitation of Internally-Displaced Persons in the North-East.