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.
The awardees also included the President’s late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede; the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State amongst others.
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.