James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian National Heroes register Act 2004 and enact the Nigerian National Heroes Act to provide for the recognition of heroes in the country.
The bill was sponsored by Hon. Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (APC, Kwara). He said recognition of heroes should goes beyond creating just a register to defining who a hero is, as well as establish the various aspects to which heroes could emerge or represent.
He said: “Consequently, this Bill seeks to repeal the Nigeria National Heroes Register Act CAP N121 LFN 2004 and enact a more comprehensive Nigerian National Heroes Act to Provide for the recognition of heroes, re-establish the Nigerian Heroes Register and set criteria for the identification, categories, selection and honouring of national heroes and other related matters.
Leading the debate on the bill, Kannike said the national honour should go beyond the recognition accorded to late Alvan Ikoku, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mr. Herbert Macaulay and General Murtala Mohammed.
According to him: “In recognition of the importance of heroes in our society, whether they are entertainers, athletes, politicians or public figures, the Bill provides in its schedule various categories of Nigerians citizens dead and alive that could be designated as heroes.
“The Bill specifies principles guiding the designation of National Heroes to include, patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people; human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalsed; good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability, enhancement of sustainable development.”
He added: “The proposed legislation seeks to ascribe certain privileges to living heroes and ensures that heroes are henceforth designated at state ceremonies”.
In his contribution, however, Hon. Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) expressed regret that “Many of our past heroes’ families and wards are living in misery which is not right. As a nation, we ought to recognise them”.
Also, Hon. Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun) and Hon. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) who spoke in support of the bill stated that it would act as a catalyst for self-actualisation of the part of the younger generation.
Ossai said: “Our children will device a means to bring about the unity of our country through this bill, generations to come will take a cue from this which is highly commendable.”
The bill had an overwhelming support by member as Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara committed it to the House Committee on Governmental Affairs for further legislative action, after it scaled the voice vote.