National honours, a recognition of contributions to national development, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that national honours confered on over 446 Nigerians and seven foreigners was in recognition of their contributions to national development.
Speaking at the investiture of the awardees, which held on Tuesday in Abuja, the President said those who received the awards were symbols of bravery, commitment, selflessness, sacrifice, and dedication to fostering sustainable development.
The President in a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, said listed the criteria for the awards to include “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”.
Other criteria, according to the statement are “distinct act of bravery in the protection and/or defence of national interest, public peace, 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 uplift 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”.
The highest category of the award – Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) was conferred on
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO); Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN); Tanko Muhammad, immediate past CJN; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN); and Nigeria’s Permanent Pepresentative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
The President commended the National Awards Committee chaired by the Emir of Lafia, Nasarawa state, Justice Sidi Bage, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, for the efforts put into the selection of the awardees.
The statement said, “We have amongst the recipients today, Amb. Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who are doing our country proud on the international scene.
“Our dear sisters are a source of inspiration to our young women that through the dint of hard work and dedication, they can achieve greatness,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
“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).
“Worthy of mention are our Artistes, particularly, our very own Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy), who won the Grammy Awards in 2020.
“He along with other artistes have 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.”
Speaking on behalf of the awardees during the investiture, Senate President Lawan commended Buhari for the recognition.
He said the conferment of the honours a further call for service to the nation.
The Senate President said the award is a call to duty and an invitation to realise that citizens’ efforts will not be in vain.
‘We are therefore inspired, motivated and admonished to keep up our inputs, as stakeholders in the building of a virile nation.
“This is why I call on awardees to be steadfast, considering the responsibility that comes with the honours.
“This obligation is one of leadership, more work and the provision of inspiration to others,” he said and
thanked Buhari for the honour done to them through the awards.

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