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|National Honours Awardees Stranded In Abuja by FrontPageLawyer(m): 7:51am On Sep 17, 2012|
MOST of the recipients of the 2012 National Honours were stranded in Abuja on Sunday as the Federal Government failed to provide them accommodation as it was the practice in the past.
The honours are expected to be conferred on the recipients on Monday (today) at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. A total of 149 recipients will be conferred with national honours with Chairman of Globacom, Mike Adenuga, receiving the highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.
Most recipients, especially Abuja non-residents, who arrived in Abuja on Sunday evening discovered that the government made no provision for their accommodation and flight tickets.
During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, all awardees were each provided with accommodation or N50,000 in lieu of it.
They also received the same amount of money for flight tickets.
A senior government official, who disclosed this to one of our correspondents in Abuja, said the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was usually saddled with the task of arranging accommodation and flight tickets for the honourees.
The official said, “You see, it is wrong for you to invite people from all nooks and crannies of the country to Abuja without making any preparation for their accommodation, transport and even feeding.
“That is against the African tradition of entertaining guests. Many of these awardees have never been to Abuja before and therefore, they don’t know how to find their ways.
“The usual thing is to reserve accommodation for these distinguished Nigerians. But I don’t know why things are like this in this country.”
Some of the awardees, as well as members of the organising committee, who spoke to our correspondents at the organising committee’s secretariat in Agura Hotel, Abuja, confirmed that they were not provided with accommodation and flight tickets.
A member of committee, who pleaded anonymity, said, “There was no provision for accommodation for the recipients; flight tickets were also not provided.
“They are to take care of those things. There is no big deal about that though it (taking care of honorees) had been the practice.”
One of the awardees complained to one of our correspondents about the non-provision of accommodation and transportation arrangements for the recipients.
The awardee, who was in company with his wife searching for hotel accommodation, said it was sad that the organisers of the award left them to fend for themselves.
Asked if he had been able to secure accommodation, the awardee replied, “no.”
He said, “I am trying to secure my own accommodation, since they did not provide any for us. The situation is quite inconveniencing. I don’t live in Abuja and here I am, hours after I arrived, I am yet to settle down. I have not had a bath and I have not changed my clothes.
“The arrangement should have been better; it should not be just (about) collecting the award.”
Asked if his children would be around to witness the event, he said, “The invitation said only two guests; I can’t bring all of them. So I brought my wife and a friend along.”
Our correspondents also gathered that many of the awardees were experiencing similar difficulties in securing accommodation, as most of the hotels in Abuja had been fully booked ahead of the event.
An employee of an hotel disclosed that some awardees started making reservations immediately the date for the conferement of the awards was announced.
In the same vein, security has been beefed up around the International Conference Center, venue of the event.
Unlike during the previous editions of the awards when recipients were allowed to bring in friends and relatives to felicitate with them, only two guests would be allowed to accompany each recipients this year.
As part of the security measures, our correspondent further learnt that movement in and out of the venue would be controlled. It was also learnt that no individual would be allowed to either drive personal cars or walk into the venue.
According to the arrangement that has been put in place, awardees’ guests and those involved in the organisation of the event are expected to converge on Eagles Square from where designated buses would convey them to the venue.
The measures, our correspondent further learnt, was to regulate the number of vehicles that would have access into the venue of the event.
Also, a limited number of journalists would be accredited for the event by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with the organisers relying more on State House correspondents that would accompany Jonathan to the event for the coverage.
The Nigeria Police had earlier assured that the national honours award ceremony would record no security breach.
Speaking against the backdrop of the protests over an anti-Islamic movie that rocked different parts of the world, including Jos, Plateau State and Sokoto State, Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said that the police and other security agencies were ready to contain any security threat during the ceremony particularly from protesters.
“We are taking proactive measures to ensure water-tight security in the country and our strategies are working. The national awards ceremony will be hitch-free and our guests and awardees are advised to relax. It is a national day of honour and we have put in place the necessary arrangement to guarantee the security of lives and property,” Mba stated.
On Sunday, our correspondents who visited the venue of the awards were not allowed entry into the complex.
Security operatives, comprising men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and soldiers manned the gate. An armoured personnel carrier was also stationed by the gate.
Checks revealed that wedding receptions and other social engagements slated to hold in the ICC on Saturday were shifted to other venues following a directive from security agencies.
|Re: National Honours Awardees Stranded In Abuja by k2039: 7:53am On Sep 17, 2012|
|Re: National Honours Awardees Stranded In Abuja by k2039: 7:54am On Sep 17, 2012|
What's the big deal,are they pooor people that cant afford to foot their personal bills.
Must evrythin be done by the federal goverment,
Nonsense,[size=18pt]What a truckload of freeloaders
Abeg make dem pack well jare.
|Re: National Honours Awardees Stranded In Abuja by elimokhai(m): 8:12am On Sep 17, 2012|
k2039: What's the big deal,are they pooor people that cant afford to foot their personal bills.
Apparently, you're telling us National award is not meant for the poor people.
|Re: National Honours Awardees Stranded In Abuja by k2039: 8:25am On Sep 17, 2012|
[size=14pt]Between you and I,we both know that the poorest person among the 149 Nigerians that will be conferred with National Honours by President Goodluck Jonathan is a millionare,cant they afford a flight ticket and book a hotel.[/size]
[size=14pt]Apparently am not saying the national award is meant for the rich,but we all know that the 149 Nigerians being conferred with national award this year are not paupers[/size]
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