By Chimezie Godfrey
To mark the Independence Day commemorated on August 3, the Republic of Niger Wednesday honoured six Nigerians-two Presidential aides, two businessmen and two state governors with their national honours in recognition of their roles in the promotion of better relations between the two sister states.
The day is set aside to mark the nation’s independence from France in 1960 and since 1975 has been recognised as “tree planting day” as trees are planted across the nation to aid the fight against desertification.
In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu revealed that in giving the awards, President Mohammed Bazoum said his country cherished Nigeria as one of its closest neighbours and friends.
“Those honoured from the Presidency are the Senior Special Assistant (Household and Domestic Affairs) to the President, Sarki Abba, and the State Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure.
“Businessmen who received the honours are Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group and Abdulsamad Rabi’u, President BUA Group, and the two Governors were Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, Jigawa and Mohammed Bello Matawalle, Zamfara State.
“They were awarded the “Order of Merit of Niger, Great Master of National Awards.”
“In various citations read by the country’s leader, President Bazoum praised the efforts of “brother Nigerians” who had made great strides in increasing understanding between the two nations and for acting as agents of social and economic development,” he stated.
Garba Shehu also pointed out that the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu was one of those who graced the occasion.