Posthumous National Award: Lawyers Fault Ex CJN Belgore’s Stance

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Late Chief MKO Abiola

A Law lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University Mr Misbau Alamu Lateef and the Former 1st Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeazor Akaraiwe have disagreed with the comments attributed to former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore that the posthumous conferment of National Honours to Chief MKO Abiola, his running mate Kingibe and late  Chief Gani Fawehimi. was illegal. Read here

According to Alamu,  there is nothing under the Act or the Warrants made pursuant to it so far prohibiting conferment of national honour post-humously.

Citing Sections from the National Honours Act, he stated: “I mean there is no positive enactment whatsoever against such. See the relevant porting on Eligibility below.

  1. Eligibility for appointment to Orders

(1)    Subject to paragraph (2) of this article, a person shall not be eligible for appointment to any rank of an Order unless he is a citizen of Nigeria.

(2)    A person other than a citizen of Nigeria shall be eligible for appointment as the honorary holder of any rank of an Order; and appointments made in pursuance of this paragraph shall be disregarded for the purposes of paragraph *(3) of the foregoing article.

  1. Mode of appointment to Orders, etc.

(1)    The President shall by notice in the Federal Gazette signify his intention of appointing a person to a particular rank of an Order.

(2)    Subject to the next following paragraph of this article, a person shall be appointed to a particular rank of an Order when he receives from the President in person, at an investiture held for the purpose-

(a)    the insignia appropriate for that rank; and

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(b)    an instrument under the hand of the President and the public seal of the Federation declaring him to be appointed to that rank.

(3)    If in the case of any person it appears to the President expedient to dispense with the requirements of paragraph (2) of this article, he may direct that that person shall be appointed to the rank in question in such a manner as may be specified in the direction.

(4)    It shall be the duty of the Secretary to the Federal Government or of such other officer as the President may determine, to establish and maintain a register in respect of each Order and to enter in the register particulars of the persons appointed to different ranks of the Order.”

On his part, Mr. Akaraiwu noted that having examined the National Honours Act, 1963, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria there is no provision circumscribing the award of national honours to the living. “I am led to the question whether CJN-Emeritus Belgore has access to another piece of legislation categorically limiting National Honours to the living or if My Lord Emeritus is reading Art. 3 (2) requiring the awardee to attend the ceremony to mean that the award is circumscribed to the living and not the dead?”

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