Confers national honours on 305 persons
By Abdullahi M. Gulloma
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday directed that the designer of the country’s national flag, Pa Michael Akinkunmi, be placed on the salary scale of Special Assistant to the President for life in addition to his national honours award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).
Speaking at the 2013/2014 National Honours Award Investiture Ceremony at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Jonathan directed the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, to provide personal houses in Abuja for a taxi driver, Mr. Imeh Usuah, who returned N18 million left in his car by a passenger; a State House steward, Mr. Onuh Isaac, who has served nine Heads of State; and a traffic warden, Cpl. Solomon Dauda.
The houses were in addition to the national honours awards of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) bestowed on them by the president.
Jonathan also honoured the National President of Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, with the national honours award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) for her contribution to the entrenchment of democracy.
In his remarks, Chairman of the National Honours Award Committee and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, said the 305 recipients of the various categories of the awards were carefully selected in recognition of their invaluable contributions to the development of the country.
He said the recipients were selected through rigorous and painstaking screening process by the committee to ensure that only credible people with impeccable character were considered.
He said 25 individuals were conferred with the national honour of the Commander of the Order of Federal Republic, 60 persons were honoured with the Commander of the Order of Niger, 54 got the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, 63 received the Officer of the Order of the Niger, 53 were presented with Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, 56 got Member of the Order of the Niger and one recipient got the Federal Republic Medal (First Class) and the Federal Republic Medal (Second Class).
He said 4,737 persons have so far been conferred with the various categories of the national honours awards since its inception in 1963, and called on the recipients to continue to contribute to the success of the transformation agenda and make the country proud.
Belgore also stressed the need for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians, saying, “All the things needed for peaceful coexistence and prosperity are present in Nigeria. All we need is stability which God will surely give us. If there is stability for 20 years, Nigeria will prosper and be among the seven leading countries in the world.”