The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, said 450 out of over 5, 000 nominees received the 2022 National Honours Awards for their various contributions to the country.
Mr Akume said this in his address of welcome at the National Honours Awards Investiture on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the nominees were drawn from various walks of life across the public and private sectors.
“Over 5000 nominees were presented to the national awards committee for consideration. However, only 450 persons made the final list,” he said.
“The National Honours Awards was established by the National Honours Act of No 6 in 1964 with effect from Oct 1, 1963.
“The Act empowers the President by warrant, the Nigerian Order of Dignity to honour deserving citizens who have contributed to the development of, and progress of the country in any field of endeavour.
“In 2022, 450 citizens together with foreigners labelled as “Nigerians and Friends of Nigeria,” received various honours ranging from the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger to Federal Republic Medals.”
According to the minister, six eminent Nigerians received the award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger, GCON, 55 received Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, CFR, 65 received the award of Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON, 70 received the award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, OFR.
Others were seven foreigners, who received the award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, OFR, 110 received Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON, 74 Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR, 55 received Member of the Order of the Niger, MON, while four received Federal Republic Medal 1, FRM1,
On the list were four recipients for the award of Federal Republic Medal 2 (FRM 2).
Some of the recipients, who received honoured posthumously included former Chief of Staff to the President, late Abba Kyari, CFR, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and Aircraft Man Matthew Oyedepo, the latter two who died in a fatal plane crash in May 2021.
In attendance were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Laman, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola, the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police among several serving Ministers.
Others were traditional Rulers including the Emir of Lafia, Sidi Mohammad, who is the Chairman of the National Honours Awards Committee.
Meanwhile, Adejoke Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SSAP-SDGs, and a former Lagos State Deputy Governor and one of the awardees, expressed gratitude to God and President Muhammad Buhari for finding her worthy of such honour.
“I give glory to God Almighty because it can only be him who makes a way for such an honour like this, I also appreciate Mr President for my selection among the awardees.
“To me, the recognition, recommendations and awards like this is a challenge to work harder.
“Oftentimes, I have received awards which could be a result of hard work and I thank God for the enabling spirit for my contribution to the nation.”
Adefulire advised other Nigerians to use whatever opportunity they were trusted with to contribute positively to the growth of the nation.
She also used the occasion to pray for the country to overcome its various challenges including insecurity.
Also, Namdi Ezekiel, one of the awardees, who expressed gratitude to God and the ward committee for choosing him, advised Nigerians to have faith in God and to continue to work hard in spite of the various challenges the country was currently faced with.