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Peace Corps Of Nigeria by meetlekan(m): 2:41pm On Jun 18, 2013
For truth and justice in Blueprint on June12 2013.

The Commandant of Nigerian Peace Corps and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), Comrade Sylvester Akoh, says that if given the opportunity, the Corps
will change the image of Nigeria in the international community through it's focus on youth development,
peacemaking, peace initiative, conflict mediation and engagement of youths in creative programmes. Akoh also says in this interview with ENE OSANG, that the
conflict between the Department of State Security Services and the Corps is politically motivated.

*The mandate of the Corps*
The Peace Corps of Nigeria is an affiliate of the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Council which was established in 1998 in Nigeria. We are committed to national creativity, peace and youth development. So,
the organisation enjoys a special consultative status with the United Nations (UN). Our activities in the Nigerian educational institutions are also given official recognition by UNESCO and the Federal Ministry of Education. Also, in line with the national policy on youth development of the Federal Ministry of Youth,
the federal government granted official recognition to our activities. The organization is also a member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria which is an umbrella body of all youth organizations in Nigeria. We have over 60,000 membership with offices across 29 states of the federation and we are preparing to
commemorate our 50th year anniversary.

We have been able to achieve a lot especially in the area of bringing youth leaders from different parts of the country together to chart a common course for the survival of the Nigerian youths. The absence of an enabling environment for their potentials to grow is the root cause of the present day security challenges. Most perpetrators of violence are the youths, and with the international affiliation, it shows that we are making progress.

Well, as a registered organization that has met all the statutory requirements of the federation,we receive annual subvention from the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, and at the state level, the 29 states where we are currently operating, also give subvention to our offices. Similarly, other government organizations also assist us with monthly grants. We get funding through our membership, while also soliciting assistance from members of the public.

*Face-off with SSS*
Well, even as we speak, nobody has been able to point out what is really wrong, but with the sustained hostility been shown to us by the State Security Services (SSS), we realized they are just trying to frustrate our effort by carrying out the duties of another agency. To us, we see the matter as political and it is most unfortunate that an organization that is duly registered and conducts its activities within the ambit of the law would be brutally abused by an agency that is supposed to lead by example.

The only reason the SSS gave bordered on our activities during the youth camping programme which includes an unarmed combat self-defense training (that is without a single stick,knife or any arm). They claimed that we carried arms. Yet, prior to any of our activities, we usually write to them to come and serve as observers. When we realized that they had issues with the combat, we had to change it to marshal art which is the same thing with NYSC practices during the orientation camp and even some secondary schools.
But in a civilized society, when you say something is unarmed, it remains unarmed and that is why the court had to strike out the case since we have not be indicted for any wrong doing. Sometime ago, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) approached us that they wanted to engage 150 of our
members in helping to enforce environmental
sanitation and checking street trading within the FCT, a request we conceded to, but the SSS and the police alleged that we were deviating from our set objectives. And I ask them how? One thing we fail to understand in this country is that, once an administration has constituted a task force backed by law, it's membership can be drawn from anywhere.
I would say it is highly unfortunate that a national security agency like the SSS will be disobeying the law of the land. This shows that we are endangering the future of this nation because in a country where security agencies are stagnantly disobeying the law of the land,you are indirectly telling the common man to
resort to self-help which has resulted to the security challenge bedeviling the nation. We have written to the Minister of Justice as the Chief Law office of the federation to call the SSS to order because with four separate judgments at the federal high court, they are
still saying to hell with the law as they continue to hide under the canopy of national security and expect the government to listen to them.This action by the SSS is a slap to social justice and the much acclaimed commitment to the rule of law and due process of the present administration and democracy.

*If SSS refuses to comply*
The procedure of using Sheriff to enforce the judgment is available in the country, so if they refuse to comply with the court judgment, we are going to ensure that they comply and any attempt to further trample on our rights, we will file contempt procedure.

*Judiciary as last hope*
Yes, even though we are in a period where majority of the people are condemning the judiciary,but I must say that it is historic that we won four judgments at the Federal High Court, a feat no youth organization has achieved. We won all the cases squarely and fairly without any bribe. If the judiciary is as corrupt as it is been said, we may not have won the cases because it is under the federal government but the judiciary still holds it's integrity very high as the last hope of the common man.

*Partnering to end security challenges*
Yes our doors are wide open to partner for a better Nigeria but as you can see, they are the ones fighting us, though we do not know what our crime is and we are yet to get any response. How can you get the confidence to ask someone who is hard on you for
partnership? Let me give you an instance, when this security challenges started, we wrote a letter to the
Inspector General of Police on how the Peace Corps could help with information at the grassroots since our slogan is that security is our collective responsibility and we have our men at the interior, but you won’t believe that during the court case, the same letter was
tendered at the hearing that we were assuming their responsibility as security agency. Our youths need enlightenment and reorientation. For example, an 11 year old primary boy recently told the world how he,
alongside other children, were given just five thousand naira each to bomb a whole school, but with proper orientation, such thing will not happen because one of the topics we cover during our orientation programme is national ethics, discipline and punishment.

*Accepting the Corps*
Well, the peace Corps was founded in the 18th century by John Kennedy, the former president of America as an NGO but their government saw the importance of the orgnisation and passed a bill that recognized the Peace corps. I believe that Nigeria government will soon see the need for accepting Nigerian Peace Corps
too. Just recently, when we went for the UN programme and presented our Nigerian concept, it was highly appreciated for its youth empowerment scheme and re-orientation. So,this is a case where a prophet is not honoured in his home.If given a chance, the Peace Corps will change the image of Nigeria in the international community. We will be able to do it because our focus is on youth development, peacemaking, peace initiative, conflict mediation and engaging the youths in creative programmes, all these would keep them away from social vices and violence.

*Killing of security personnel in Nasarawa*
It must be condemned in its entirety, and we sympathize with the police and the families of the deceased. But in my opinion, the approach to that issue made them prone to that attack because modern security does not demand sending troops to arrest a single person. They would have sent two or three officers to do the job.

*Emergency rule*
Well, I would say Mr. President have acted with the wisdom of Solomon in the Bible by first declaring amnesty for the members of Boko Haram and then went ahead to declare the state of emergency. This is what is called carrot and stick principle and degree of
enforcement to achieve effective results.

*Assessing government policies*
I will want the National Assembly to make a law that will only allow politicians and government officials to talk about what they have done and not what they intend doing. If such a law is in place, a governor that has constructed road will commission it so that
Nigerians and the international community will be begin to have confidence on our leaders.This will help Nigerians to document the promises that our government officials usually make during campaigns.

*Advice to Nigerian youths*
Youths should not expect miracle from government to address their challenges as the case is different in developed countries. No young American or British graduate waits for their government for employment rather they prefer to be self-employed and independent.Nigerian youths should learn how to be more innovative and creative. They should also not
resort to violence at every provocation.
Re: Peace Corps Of Nigeria by austinbrown: 10:38pm On Feb 10, 2015
Nice one

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