The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Revd. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, has said that he was pressurized to reject the National Honour of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Archbishop Kaigama was among the 450 awardees, honoured alongside 442 other Nigerians and seven foreigners, at the 2022 National Honours Ceremony held at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja.
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In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Kaigama said that following the unexpected news that he was among those to be conferred with the 2022 National Honours Award, many felicitated with him, while a very few urged him to reject the offer.
“Someone commented on the social media before I received the award: ‘Why is the bishop collecting the award in a country where hunger, insecurity, killing is the order of the day; who will tell the government the truth?’
“After I received the award, someone queried: ‘If you had rejected this, even politely, would you not have made a huge statement that you are on the side of the people?’,” Kaigama said.
He said that if those Nigerians urging him to decline the award should be logical with their sentiments to the end, it means that they will equally reject the national budget presented recently by the president.
According to him, to reject the national award based on the issues of injustice, insecurity, lack of essential amenities, among others, for him, is like distancing himself from project Nigeria.