By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has passed through 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.
Sponsor of the bill, Rep Abubakar Amuda-Kannike (Kwara-APC) said the bill, when passed into law, will go a long way to recognize heroes who were not only honoured but provided some form of mentoring to younger generation.
He said that heroes should be admired and acknowledged for courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities. He further said that honour should be given to individuals with positive contributions to the growth and development of the society.
According to him Nigerians, both living and dead, deserve a place of honour in the country’s national history. He cited examples to include Mr Alvan Ikoku, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mr. Herbert Macaulay and General Murtala Mohammed.
“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 marginalized. Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability, enhancement of sustainable development.
“The proposed legislation seeks to ascribe certain privileges to living heroes and ensures that heroes are henceforth designated at state ceremonies,” he said.
Also contributing to the bill, Rep Edward Pwajok(Plateau-APC) said the families ad wards of past hero’s should be adequately compensated by the government.
“Many of our past hero’s family and wards are living in misery which is not right, as a nation, we ought to recognize them,” he said.
Another lawmaker, Rep. Ayo Omidiran(Osun-APC), also speaking in favour of the motion said that the country was currently in dare need of hero’s therefore, past hero’s should be appreciated.
Rep. Nicholas Ossai (Delta-PDP), while speaking also explained that the bill if passed into law would add value to generations to come.
“Our children will device a means to bring about the unity of our country through this bill, generations to come will take a queue from this which is highly commendable,” he added.
The bill was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara and referred it to the Committee on Governmental Affairs.