A Bill for a law to subject national award nominees to Senate confirmation on Thursday passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill, which was consolidated on March 30, 2017, was sponsored by Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue-APC), Rep. Abbas Tajudeen (Kaduna-APC) and Rep. Asabe Bashir (Borno-APC).
In the lead debate on the bill at plenary, Oreker-Jev said that it stipulated qualifications and conditions for conferment of the awards.
He said that there was need to provide for the establishment of a commission that would regulate matters related to national honours and merit award in the country.
In his contribution, Rep. Abbas Tajudeen said that there was need to have criteria for people to qualify for the award.
“In the past, nominations were done without following due process and there was no criterion to the eligibility of a recipient to be given the award.
“This Bill is apt for the programme to be given the credibility it deserves; there is need to avoid situations where awards are given wrongly to unqualified recipients,’’ Tajudeen said.
Similarly, Rep. Nicholas Ossai (Delta-PDP) said that the power to make nominations for the national award should not be restricted to the executive arm of government.
“To be a recipient of an award, the person must be a nation builder and the National Assembly should scrutinize the nominee,’’ Ossai said.
In his view, Rep. Mohammed Mungono (Borno-APC) said some nominees rejected the national honour award because some recipients didn’t deserve it.
The Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos-APC) said that the yardstick for national award should be excellence, “but today in Nigeria the award is given to people, including those who have brought discredit to the country’’.
He advocated that the confirmation of nominees should not be restricted to the Senate but should also have the input of the lower chamber.
The leader pointed out that recipients of the award should be people the society should look up to as role models.
“This should include people who brought Nigeria to the map of fame; we have taxi drivers who merit it, it must not be a lawmaker and not a situation where wives of governors are given the award.’’
After the passage of the bill at that level, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, referred it to the Committee on Governmental Affairs.