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National Honours: Awardees distinguished themselves – Buhari



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.

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Media must hold govt accountable, any attempt to gag journalists will fail – Reuben Abati



Renowned journalist and former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, asserted that the media has a crucial responsibility to ensure government accountability, emphasizing that this obligation is both legally mandated and resistant to attempts at censorship. Speaking on the latest episode of the Interviewing The Interviewer series hosted by his wife, acclaimed broadcaster Kikelomo Atanda-Owo, Abati highlighted that the Nigerian media has historically functioned as a crusader, advocating for people’s rights and championing their causes.

He pointed to a pivotal moment in 1992 when the Babangida administration introduced broadcast deregulation, leading to a proliferation of radio and television stations in the country. Abati noted the media’s unwavering commitment, citing instances such as the June 12 struggle. According to him, journalists are duty-bound, as outlined in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution, to call those in power to account. This obligation is further emphasized in Section 39 of the same constitution, with ethical guidelines set by the Nigerian Press Organisation dictating that journalists must be objective, fair, accurate, and act in the public interest.

Abati highlighted the historical resilience of journalists against attempts to silence or harm them, asserting that every effort to gag or suppress journalists has ultimately failed. He encouraged journalists to be courageous and knowledgeable, underscoring the importance of these qualities in fulfilling their duty to society.

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Motorists stuck in traffic, passengers stranded as military blocks Keffi-Abuja road



Hundreds of government employees and self-employed individuals find themselves stranded along the Keffi-Abuja road due to a partial blockade imposed by the military. The blockage, occurring at the Kugbo hill near the popular Kugbo Mechanic Village, was unanticipated by many motorists. The military has not officially disclosed the reason for the road closure, but sources suggest it may be linked to security concerns.

Certain disgruntled groups have reportedly expressed intentions to organize peaceful protests against government policies, possibly prompting the road closure. As of the latest update, the traffic jam resulting from the blockade has extended over two kilometers to Mararaba. Numerous influential individuals, unwilling to endure the inconvenience, were observed turning back to their destinations or parking by the roadside until the blockade is lifted.

In response to the situation, commercial motorcycle operators (Okada) are capitalizing on the gridlock, charging inflated fares to transport passengers from Mararaba to Kugbo Furniture Village. The usual N200 fare for this route has surged to N1000 where services are available. Frustrated civil servants, forced to endure extended waits by the roadside, are now opting to return home.

Expressing his surprise, a commercial bus driver named Iiliasu Mohammed stated that the military’s abrupt action caught him off guard, emphasizing the importance of prior notification to mitigate adverse effects on the daily lives of ordinary Nigerians. Mohammed, who spent two hours in the gridlock, appealed to the military to ease the roadblock, particularly for his passengers who are civil servants trying to reach their workplaces.

It is noteworthy that only the Keffi-Abuja road has been blocked, while the Abuja-Keffi axis remains unaffected.

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NiMet forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from Sunday



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has forecasted a period of sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country. According to the weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja, NiMet predicts sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during this forecast period. The North Central region is also expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere.

In the Inland states of the South, NiMet anticipates cloudy skies with spells of sunshine. Coastal cities are expected to have cloudy skies with the possibility of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

Dust haze is foreseen over the northern region on Monday, while the North Central region is expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere. The Inland states of the South and coastal cities are predicted to have cloudy skies with spells of sunshine, along with the likelihood of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. Thunderstorms are expected later in the day over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.

On Tuesday, NiMet forecasts dust haze with a visibility range of 2km to 5 km over the northern region. The North Central region is expected to experience dust haze as well. In the Inland states of the South and coastal cities, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are anticipated.

NiMet issues a cautionary note about dust particles in suspension and advises the public, especially individuals with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions. The agency also warns of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and advises the public to exercise caution. Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany thunderstorms, and disaster risk managers, agencies, and individuals are advised to be proactive during the rainy season.

Finally, NiMet advises airline operators to obtain updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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