July 15, 2024

National honours not mere decorations – Buhari


President Mohammadu Buhari has reiterated the objectives and reasons for the National honours Award stating that the honours are not merely decorative.

The President made the declaration on Tuesday while delivering his speech on the occasion of the 2022 National Honours Award Investiture ceremony at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

According to the President, this year’s award was unique because in the last seven years of his administration there had never been such an event, except the special one carried out to honour the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingbe and the late Gabi Fawehinmi to correct the wrongs done to them.

President Buhari said that the Honourable reminds Nigerians of an important part of their responsibility as citizens.

He charged Nigerians to always endeavour to do their best for the country, stating that his administration would continue to root out all forms of banditry, criminality, terrorism and insurgency in the land.

He reiterated his avowed commitment to hand over a Nigeria that is free from insecurity to the next generation of leaders.

The President commended the National Honours Award Committee, Chaired by His Royal Highness, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad I, JSC (retd), the Emir of Lafia, for their discreet screening of the nominees.

He stressed that the committee recommend suitable Nigerians and friends for appropriate recognition.

He stated that the selection was based on the premise that the reconstituted Committee with the distinguished retired Justice and other patriotic Nigerians as members would recommend suitable Nigerians and friends for appropriate recognition.

“The committee has done a patriotic duty by diligently going through over 5,000 submissions and coming up with these recommendations. 

“The Award of titles of honour, decorations and dignitaries is a solemn and patriotic event at which the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria honours deserving Nationals and Non-Nationals, who have distinguished themselves in the service of the nation and humanity in accordance with the National Honours Act CAP. N43 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“The screening and selection of nominees for this year’s award, as always, followed established broad criteria including but not limited to;

“Consistent and meaningful participation in community and/or national development; rendering unsolicited, selfless and philanthropic services to humanity; outstanding sacrifice in the defence of a cause popularly adjudged to be positive, relevant and beneficial to the nation and community.

National honours not mere decorations - Buhari

“Distinct act of bravery in the protection and/or defence of national interest, public peace, the safety of life and property; Remarkable achievement in any field of expertise where the person’s activities in that field have made significant contributions to the attainment of national goals and objectives.

“Immense contributions towards the upliftment of community, state, nation and/or humanity through achievements by way of inventions and bringing outstanding honour and glory to the state through personal dedication and patriotic commitment. Service with integrity is also a basis for the selection process.

“On this occasion, you may wish to recall that since the inception of this administration, there has not been such an occasion like this where individuals and friends of Nigeria have been so singled out for investiture except for the Special Investiture Ceremony in honour of Chief MKO Abiola, Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN whose ceremony was especially carried out to right the wrong was done in the past, to assuage our feelings and to resolve to stand firm now and the future for the sanctity of the electoral process and our democracy.

“In like manner, our country’s athletes were also honoured recently for their spectacular performances in several competitions.

“It is worthy of note that nation-building involves a lot of sacrifice by the citizenry. Citizens who contribute to national development deserve to be encouraged and appreciated.

“It is based on this premise that I reconstituted the National Honours Award Committee, Chaired by His Royal Highness, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad I, JSC (retd), the Emir of Lafia, a distinguished retired Justice and other patriotic Nigerians as members to recommend suitable Nigerians and our friends for appropriate recognition.

“The patriotic Nigerians and our friends being honoured today, have distinguished themselves in various ways for the purpose of recreating a new Nigeria of our dreams through respect for the rule of law, image laundering, transparency and accountability in the management of scarce resources.

“Equally, those in the private sector have also creditably discharged themselves in business, entertainment, hospitality, transportation and other forms of human endeavours to transform Nigeria.

“We have amongst the recipients today, Amb. Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Ms Amina J. Mohammed and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, are doing our country proud on the international scene. Our dear sisters are a source of inspiration to our young women so that through hard work and dedication, they can achieve greatness.

“We also have on the list, Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, a religious leader who hid over 262 Christians in his mosque from attacks in Yelwa Gindi Akwati village, in Plateau State.

“He is a good example of religious tolerance we preach amongst Nigerians. I am excited that he is being honoured today with Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

National honours not mere decorations - Buhari

“Worthy of mention are our artists, particularly, our very own Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy), who won the Grammy Awards in 2020. He along with other artistes has repositioned the Nigerian entertainment industry and placed it on the global map. At the just concluded Dubai Expo 2020, Nigeria’s pavilion was a beehive of activities as our musicians entertained guests from around the world. 

“Despite the present economic challenges, Nigeria still boasts of men and women of integrity; Ms Josephine Agu, an airport cleaner returned $12,200 found in a toilet at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos as well as Ogbanago Muhammed Ibrahim, a bank security man who found and returned $10,000. Today, we celebrate their dignity and strong strength of character by conferring National Honours on them. They are a shining example to our younger generation.

“I congratulate all the recipients today who will be joining the league of Awardees. I appreciate the non-Nigerian recipients and assure all of you that this administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for you to undertake your lawful businesses to allow you to sustain your efforts at contributing to the development of our nation, Nigeria.

“I want to specially commend the Chairman and members of the National Honours Award Committee for a job well done. The list of awardees is justifiably long since this exercise has not been carried out since 2015. Your commitment to the process of screening and selection has been well-guided.

“Let me appeal to other Nigerians who are yet to receive this recognition to be patient and understand that their efforts in nation-building are appreciated and at the right time, will similarly be recognized.

“Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, this administration will continue to partner with Nigerians and friends of Nigeria with like minds in our efforts to build the Nigeria of our dream where everybody will thrive to excel in their chosen fields devoid of parochial sentiments,” he stated.

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