As part of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day celebrations, President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured Kunle Garb, the Nigerian pastor and field missionary who was jailed in June by Benin Republic for defending Nigeria’s sovereignty.
During the presentation ceremony that was held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa on September 30, and that also saw a total of 60 Nigerians receive special recognition awards, Garb was presented with a Special Award for Patriotism and Bravery.
At the initial stage, the Federal Government had received 405 nationwide nominations for the awards. However, after several screening stages, 60 significant Nigerians were eventually selected as winners.
As part of the selection process, Nigerians who had excelled in the areas of Arts, Business, Community, Education, Healthcare, Industry, International Achievement, Entertainment and Sports were considered.
There was also a category known as the Life Time Award.
On June 24, Garb was arrested by Beninese Gendarmes after single-handedly resisting acts of encroachment into Nigeria’s territory by Benin Republic, through Igbokofi, a border town in Yewa North Local Government, Ogun state.
While awaiting trial in a Beninese Jail, Garb studied a book on the country’s judicial system and chose to represent himself in court, despite offers of assistance by the Ogun State Government and the Nigerian Embassy in Benin.
He won the case and regained his freedom on July 14.
His act of valour eventually forced relevant authorities like the National Boundary Commission and the office of the Surveyor General of Nigeria to review the activities of Benin Republic in Igbokofi.
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