President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, conferred National Honours on 450 Nigerians and non-Nigerians, among them Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Deputy Secretary-General of UN, Amina Mohammed and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
Others who made the honours lists include renowned novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, immediate past CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad among others.
Buhari justified the honours, saying the awardees had distinguished themselves in the service of the nation and humanity.
He asserted that citizens who contribute to national development deserve to be encouraged and appreciated.
The President who is billed to bow out of office as President on May 29th 2023, restated his resolve to restore total security to Nigerians, saying he would surely bequeath a secured nation to the next generation.
Leading the 2022 National Honours Award recipients, in the category of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) are Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, immediate past CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Deputy Secretary-General of UN, Amina Mohammed and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
The President lauded the National Awards Committee headed by Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad I, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, the Emir of Lafia, for a great and patriotic duty by diligently going through over 5,000 submissions and coming up with these recommendations.
He noted that the screening and selection of nominees for this year’s award as always followed established broad criteria, in accordance with the National Honours Act CAP.N43 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
He listed the criteria that qualified the recipients of the awards, to include 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.
Others are distinct acts of bravery in the protection and/or defence of national interest, public peace, and safety of life and property, including 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 the 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.
The President also noted that genuine nation-building involves a lot of sacrifice by the citizenry, hence citizens who contribute to national development deserve to be encouraged and appreciated.
He lauded the 2022 National Award recipients for distinguishing 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.’’
The President had also noted that those in the private sector have also creditably discharged themselves in business, entertainment, hospitality, transportation and other forms of human endeavours to transform Nigeria.
The National Honours which was held at the International Conference Centre Abuja marks the first time the Buhari administration will be conferring honours on Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various callings, it might also be the last for the government.