FG to Award N10m Each to National Merit Awardees


President Muhammadu Buhari will in Abuja on December 1 award N10 million each to two recipients of this year’s Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM).

Etim Essien, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), disclosed this at a news conference to mark the nineth Forum of NNOM Laureates in Abuja yesterday.

The theme of the forum is: ‘Mono-Economy, Diversification, Exchange Rate Stability and the Development of the Nigerian Nation.’

The NNOM is the highest national honours given to those who have excelled in the field of Science, Medicine, Engineering/Technology and Humanities.

The award is distinct from the more popular national honours, often given to politicians.
Essien, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the president would give out a cash prize of N10 million alongside certificates and medals to each recipient.

He listed the two recipients as Sadik Omowunmi and Tanure Ojaide, both professors, for the science and humanities categories respectively.
“As prescribed in the laws governing the NNMA, the investiture will be performed by President Buhari, on December 1 at the Presidential Villa.

“The law stipulates that the award will be given on the first of December of every year.
“The NNMA, which is the agency responsible to seek out the best intellectual and creative Nigerian minds, was set up to seek accolades at home.

“It is also charged with the responsibility to help in directing their energies to finding solutions to Nigeria’s problems and thus promote national development and enhance good national image internationally,’’ he said.

Essien added that the NNOM award by contrast was restricted mostly to Nigerian academics at home and in the diaspora, who had attained very significant creativities in their fields of human endeavours.
He said the award was also open to Nigerians who had demonstrated exceptional creativities in other specialisations.

He said that a committee of assessors was set up to look at the work of the recipients, make recommendations and forward same to the governing board of the agency.

He said the governing board critically looks at the recommendation and transmits it to the president latest on September 1 of every year.
He commended the president for approving the recommendations of the two recipients.