The Peace Corps of Nigeria was established in 1998 in Kaduna State by youth development Advocate and Strategist, Amb. (Dr) Dickson A.O. Akoh. Peace Corps of Nigeria, which is committed to National Creativity, Peace and Youth Development met all legal specifications and is incorporated in Nigeria under Companies and Allied Matters Act, Part C/20, LFN 2004, with IT Number CAC/IT/4589 of May, 2002 and accorded government’s recognition through the Federal Ministry of Youth Development and its activities in Schools and Colleges are registered under the Federal Ministry of Education.
PCN is a member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria and has been granted a Special Consultative Status by the United Nations and Africa Union, thus an affiliate of their respective Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOC).
Furthermore, PCN is equally an affiliate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
It is therefore in view of its landmark achievements and value-driven programmes over the years that the National Assembly (8th Assembly) passed a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Peace Corps, to give statutory backing to PCN. Currently, the 9th National Assembly has re-gazetted and re-introduced this all important Bill with a view to re-pass the Bill and transmit same to Mr President for assent.
The membership of the PCN is open to all Nigerian youths, irrespective of their age, religion, tribe, sex or social status. Currently, PCN has membership strength of over 187,000 youths, comprising of both regular members and volunteers. Also, it has a well-structured network of branches in all the 36 states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
After dissipating a lot of time, energy and resources into research work in a bid to achieve a functional and sustainable growth index in youth development and re-orientation, Dr Akoh observed that Nigeria, although endowed with enormous human and natural resources that could aid the youth in the discovery and attainment of their full potentials, was still deficient in comprehensive and practical orientation programmes, which would serve as social mechanisms to assist the youth to cope with the many challenges of the 21st century. According to him, the scenario constituted a huge impediment to the positive development of the Nigerian youth. Hence in a bid to fill the void by providing a veritable platform for character development and empowerment of the youth, he took the historical step of establishing the PCN.
The activities of PCN are generally related to the promotion of peace and social order, youth development/empowerment, volunteerism and humanitarian services and environmental health. The organization offers a credible platform for its members to work with Government at all levels; educational institutions; youth-based organizations, Civil Society and Community-based Organisations, and international development partners sharing similar objectives with the Corps.
From its inception to date, PCN and its members have encountered diverse contemporary challenges, but each member of the Corps had been trained to approach such challenges with strict discipline, unwavering patriotism and undying passion. The efforts of Peace Corps officers, particularly in Schools and Colleges, represent an enduring legacy of selfless service, and have become a significant part of social mobilisation of the Nigerian youths in the onerous task of nation-building.