The controversy surrounding the award of honours by the Presidency has taken a new twist as the Presidency yesterday told the Senate that government does not have a full list of those it has honoured since the inception of the scheme. The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties at the Presidency, Henry Akpan, stated this at a meeting with the Senate Committee on Special Duties at the National Assembly yesterday.
Akpan told the Senator Clever Ikisikpo led committee that government does not have any record of the full list of the awardees.
“There is no record of the full list of those who had received the award so far”, Akpan said.
Lawmakers at the meeting expressed shock over the revelation and wondered why such should be the case.
The permanent secretary however made a case for the establishment of an e-library for which the executive has planned a budget of N80 million.
He told the committee that of the N80 million budgeted, N44.6 million was appropriated but that out of the amount, only N18.10 million has so far been released.
The lack of data base is apparently responsible for the mix up including duplications usually encountered during the selection of awardees.
It would be recalled that in 2011 former Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Domkat Bali, who was already a holder of the second highest medal of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON) was listed for a lower Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).
Public outrage has been trailing the award with many Nigerians including civil society organisations calling for a review of the exercise after claims that many of the awardees are questionable characters.
President Goodluck Jonathan after presiding over this year’s award last week announced that he would withdraw the award from any past recipient found wanting.