May 20, 2024

Members of House of Representatives have begun the process to veto the Peace Corps bill that was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that about 173 members’ signatures have been collated so far.

The President had, in a letter dated January 25, 2018 to the House, cited financial implications and duplication of duties of existing security agencies, as reasons for withholding his assent to the bill, which thousands of jobless youths have been patiently waiting for. A top member of the group from Rivers State, who spoke to New Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said they are hopeful that before the expiration of the 30-day window provided for in the constitution, they will be able to garner the required two-thirds majority to override the president’s assent.

According to him, “We need just 240 members to overturn the table against him (president) and we are double sure that in the next two weeks, we will convince more members to join this movement. So far, I can confirm to you that we have 173 members already on our list and this is authentic.

“What we are doing is not about party or religion or region; it is about Nigeria; it is about the future of our youths who are roaming about the streets due to lack of jobs. “The Peace Corps is a veritable platform to create employment and reduce corruption in Nigeria. Mr. President cannot be telling Nigerians, ‘we don’t have money’ when the country is contributing to many bodies.”

Asked whether they will be able to get the required two-thirds in the Senate, the lawmaker expressed confidence that their colleagues in the upper chamber were working round the clock to secure the required number. “Our colleagues in the Senate are very much in tune with what we are doing; they are as concerned as we are because Nigerians are suffering; our youths are being held hostage by an insensitive government. I can assure you, we are going to get the two-thirds and we will go ahead and create the Peace Corps for our youths.”

Probed further on the identity of those that have appended their signatures, the lawmaker, however declined to name them saying “we are keeping our list close to our hearts and we will not like to make it public now. But what I can assure you is that, there is a group, we have gotten 173 followers as at today and we are ready to override his (president’s) assent, and there is no going back.

“I must say Dickson Akoh (the commandant) has done a good job and we must encourage him,” he stated.

The National Assembly is empowered by the provisions of section 58(5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, to override the President’s veto on Bills. While the House requires 240 members to make up its two-thirds, the 109-member Senate requires 81 members to veto the president’s assent. Section 58 (5) provides that “Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”

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