A bill for an act to repeal Nigerian National Heroes Register 2004 and for the enactment of Nigerian National Heroes Act, passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Leading debate on the Bill, Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (Kwara-APC), said when passed, it would ensure the recognition of heroes who were not only honoured but provide some form of mentoring to younger generation.
He said that heroes should be admired and acknowledged for courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities.
Mr Amuda-Kannike said that honour should be given to individuals with positive contributions to the growth and development of the society.
According to him, Nigerians, living or dead, deserve a place of honour in the country’s national history.
He listed some of them to include late Alvan Ikoku, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Herbert Macaulay and Murtala Mohammed.
“In recognition of the importance of heroes in our society, whether they are entertainers, athletes, politicians or public figures, the Bill provides various categories of Nigerians, dead and alive, that could be designated as heroes.
“The Bill specifies principles guiding the designation of National Heroes to include patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, rule of law, democracy and participation of the people.
“Human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination, protection of the marginalized, good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability, enhancement of sustainable development are others.
“The proposed legislation seeks to ascribe certain privileges to living heroes and ensures that heroes are henceforth designated at state ceremonies,” he said.
In his contribution, Rep. Edward Pwajok (Plateau-APC) said that families and wards of past heroes should be adequately compensated by the government.
“Many of our past heroes’ families and wards are living in misery which is not right; as a nation, we ought to recognise them,” he said.
Another lawmaker, Ayo Omidiran (Osun-APC), supported the motion and said that the country was currently in dire need of heroes; therefore, past heroes should be appreciated.
Nicholas Ossai (Delta-PDP) stated that if passed, the Bill would add value to generations to come.
“Our children will devise means to bring unity in our country through this bill; generations to come will take a cue from this which is highly commendable,” he added.
The bill was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, who consequently referred it to the Committee on Inter-Governmental Affairs.