Following the barrage of criticisms against the Federal Government of Nigeria over the exclusion of Dr. Stella Adadevoh from the recently released National Honours List, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe in a tweet explained the action (or inaction) of the President saying Dr. Adadevoh’s name was deliberately omitted because the National Honours Act did not permit posthumous awards.
Article 2 of the Honours Warrant to the National Honours Act clearly states the conditions for eligibility for the awards viz:
“(I) 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.”
It is clear that as a Nigerian citizen, Dr. Adadevoh who died from Ebola Virus Disease, contracted presumably while stopping the Late Patrick Sawyer from escaping from the hospital, was deserving of and eligible for the award.
Although Article 3 Paragraph 2 of the Warrant also provides inter alia that recipients of such awards must receive the medal ‘in person’ from the President. Paragraph 3 of the same Article empowers the President to waive the requirements of Paragraph 2 of the Warrant (including the requirement to receive the medal in person) if it appears ‘expedient’ to do so.
Clearly, the President has the Powers to confer the National Honour on Dr. Adadevoh, failure or refusal to so do can not be interpreted as a handicap, Dr. Doyin Okupe therefore lied in insinuating that the Law did not permit posthumous awards.
While it is not strange for Dr. Doyin Okupe to lay a barefaced lie to defend the impossible, it is however disturbing that despite the sacrifice of Dr. Adadevoh in avoiding what could have become a national disaster, the President did not deem it fit to recognise her sacrifice of love for the country.
How then can we encourage ordinary Nigerians working daily to ensure the unity, safety and security of the Federal Republic? What moral ground does the Federal Government of Nigeria have to encourage Nigerians to sacrifice their lives for the integrity of Nigeria? How then can the Federal Government validly appeal to Nigerians to support our troops to lay their lives down for the country?