130 Civil Society Groups Honour Tinubu, Soyinka, Opadokun, Others

Posted on June 20, 2024

A coalition of civil society groups on Thursday honoured President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his contributions to democracy in Nigeria. 

The award was part of the efforts to recognise the role of President Tinubu and other leading figures in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC), a coalition of 135 Civil Society and Community based Groups spread across Nigeria also honoured Nobel Laureate winner Prof. Wole Soyinka;  former General Secretary, National Democratic Coalition, (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun and NADECO Chieftain Hon Wale Osun.

The group also gave awards to private concerns especially, Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, PINL, for its peace building, conflict prevention and community empowerment in the Nigeria.

The group described PINL as the pillar of job creation, peace and conflict prevention in the Niger Delta.

The company leads the campaign against violence and pipeline vandalisation in Nigeria increasing the oil economy fortunes in the country.

The event held at the Airport Hotel in Lagos with over 800 people from across Nigeria in attendance.

Also present were Prof. Soyinka, represented by Ms. Lola Shoneyin; Chief Opadokun; Prince Onuwaje; the Director General, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, Mr Seye Oyeleye and Mr Babatunde Ogala, SAN among others.

Special Adviser to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr Tunde Rahman who received the award on behalf of the President praised the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) for recognising the role Tinubu played in the anti-June 12 struggle.

He said the President was aware of the historic responsibility placed in his shoulders to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

The coalition said each of the awardees has made inestimable sacrifices for democracy and liberty in Nigeria right form their twenties.

In the speech signed by NHRC officials, Mallam Kudu Mohammed, Taiwo Adeleye and Noel Ebiri said the award was part of activities marking the 31 years after the annulment of the June 12 Presidential election.

The group said it was honouring the heroes and non-state actors that are helping democracy to survive as as to serve as inspiration to Nigerians and also to remind the people that Nigeria must never return to military rule.

It said in the face of the challenges facing the country, democracy is better than the most malevolent military rule.

“There would have been no democracy without June 12. Nigerians made sacrifices. People laid down their lives for peace and prosperity of Nigeria. Many people were killed. Many were maimed. It is important to continue to reward these heroes to let them know Nigeria value their past and present contributions,” the group said.

It noted that Nigerians are passing through very difficult moments characterised by high cost of living, corruption, ineptitude, insecurity and growing number of economically displaced people.

The group said it hoped the award would stimulate the President to listen to the hues and cries of Nigerians in order for him to address their fears and meet their aspirations.

“The June 12 Anniversary is significant. Ironically it coincides with the one year Anniversary of President Tinubu. Nigerians expect a radical change from Tinubu’s government because he is the first candidate from the human rights constituency that has ever emerged as the President of the country. Nigerians are looking up to him to bring the country back from the brink,” NHRC said.

The Group added; “Nigeria still faces very difficult challenges but your striking intervention in certain areas in the past one year cannot be denied.

“The students’ loan remains a milestone. The construction of the Lagos-Calabar Highway. Establishing probity in the Central Bank. Gradual stability in the Oil sector. Your remarkable personal sacrifices during the June 12 campaign.

“For instance, you have taken a bolder intervention to prevent oil theft and oil vandalisation in the past one year. There has been a remarkable stability in oil production, peace and sustainable development in the Niger-Delta.

“This year alone, over N5 billion worth of crude oil have been recovered from oil thieves while no fewer than 89 illegal refinery sites have been discovered. Suspects have been arrested. In the past few months, your efforts have helped the country to recover stolen crude worth over $1 billion which represents a significant input into Nigerian economy.

“These represent remarkable interventions in Nigeria’s political economy. It is on this basis that you have been selected for the award of Distinguished Award For Courage And Transformation In Difficult Times. The award is coming at a season of your One Year in Office.”

The NHRC was established in 2007 as a coalition of 135 civil society, community-based and human rights organisations spread across the 36 states of the Federation.

The NHRC has played very important interventionist roles since its creation.

The Green Peoples Environmental Network, GREPNET a key partner in this project was established in the year 2000 as a leading pro-green environmental group.

The NHRC and GREPNET received in audience the attendees drawn from most prominent leaders in the civil society and community based groups and members of the International community.

GREPNET is a member of International Alliance on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest, (IAITPTF) based in Thailand.

GREPNET had represented West African Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations, (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.

NHRC and GREPNET has made tremendous contributions to human rights development, livelihood and environmental justice in Nigeria.

Many members of the NHRC have observer status with the United Nations, (UN), the African Union, (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS).

The NHRC has been distinguished for its efforts in building democracy and human liberty in Nigeria spanning over two decades.

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