By Soni Daniel
Two top Nigerian scholars-professors James Chukwuma Ogbonna and Mohammed Dauda and seven others have received special recognitions and awards by the Japanese government to mark the 61st birthday of the Japanese Emperor, Hironomiya Naruhito.
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yutaka Kikuta, gave out the honours to the Nigerians at a special ceremony in Abuja to celebrate the 61st Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and the Conferment of the 2020 Foreign Minister’s Commendation upon Prof. James Ogbonna and Prof. Mohammed Dauda.
While Professor Ogbonna was recognised for spearheading the development of Japanese language in Nigeria, Prof Dauda was rewarded for strengthening the ties between Nigeria and Japan through the Nigeria-Japanese Alumni Association.
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Both scholars spent over two decades studying and researching on various aspects of education in Japan before returning to take up roles in Nigeria and have continued to link up with Japanese institutions and government while opening new frontiers for effective relationship between the two nations.
Also recognised for outstanding performance in Japanese language contest were: AKANBI Esther Oluwaferanmi, OLABODE Olamide Medinat and NNAMANI Mmasi Stella-Maris for outstanding Performance Award.
The quartet of OKELEYE Paul, RIMORO Jotham Frank, AMINU Ashiru and EZEANI Ukamaka Patience was given special Japanese Embassy award.
At the ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yutaka Kikuta, explained that the award of commendation by the Japanese Foreign Minister is a symbol of growing bilateral exchange between Nigeria and Japan and commended the two Nigerian scholars-James Ogbonna and Mohammed Dauda for receiving it.
The ambassadors praised the duo for playing an unparalleled role for many years in improving Japan-Nigeria relationship and expressed the hope that younger generation of Nigerians would play greater roles in the bilateral relationship between the two nations.
Both Prof James Ogbonna and Prof Mohammed Dauda expressed their gratitude to the Japanese government for singling them out for the prestigious awards and promised to do more to promote the relationship between Nigeria and Japan.