‘Buhari won’t fund Peace Corps if NASS overrides him’

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammad Buhari is not bothered by the House of Representatives’ move to override him on the Peace Corps Bill, but will expect the lawmakers to fund the new agency they seek to create, a Presidency source told PREMIUM TIMES.

The House on Wednesday signalled it was ready to overrule Mr Buhari on the widely anticipated bill.

Proponents of the bill, passed by the House and the Senate in 2017, say creating a Peace Corps will help check growing unemployment.

But critics argue the move will merely add to the government’s ever-burgeoning overhead, especially as the corps has no clear-cut security mandate.

President Buhari declined to assent to the legislation last month, citing security and financial reasons.

The House through its spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas, on Thursday said it will override the president’s veto.

Mr Namdas said apart from the Peace Corps bill, the House will commence the process of overriding the president’s veto on nine other bills.

“Let them go ahead and override the president, nobody is stopping or begging them not to do so,” a presidency official said.

The official requested not to be named as he was not authorised to speak officially on the issue.

“The president said there is currently no money to fund an agency like that. If the National Assembly has its own money to fund the agency perpetually, let them go ahead and override the president,” the official said.

The special adviser to the president on National Assembly (Senate) matters, Ita Enang,  said he could not immediately speak on the matter.

“I cannot speak on it until I get the details from members and leadership of the House,” he said.

On when he will get the details, he said, “I cannot be definite on when that will be done.”

Under Nigeria’s amended Constitution, the National Assembly has the powers to override the president on a bill he refuses to sign.

But such move must be approved by the House and the Senate for it to take effect. The Senate has not clearly stated its position on the Peace Corps Bill yet.

If the two chambers go ahead and make the bill law, it would be an unprecedented law-making decision in the country.