From: Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act to Amend the Flag and Coat of Arms Act, Cap. F30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Regulate the Display and Use of the National Flag, Certain Flags and the National Coats of Arms.
The Bill, sponsored by Sam Onuigbo, seeks that any person who flies or exhibits the national flag which is deconstructed shall be guilty of an offence against the Act.
The Bill is also targeted at stopping the insertion of the Coat of Arms in the national flag, especially those on display.
The piece of legislation equally seeks the amend Section 10 of the Flag and Coat of Arms Act by removing the fine of N100 and replacing it with the sum of N10,000 for every day or part of day during which the Act is breached.
Onuigbo in his lead debate on the bill observed that over the years the Nigerian flag designed by Pa Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi with a green, white, green pattern has been distorted in terms of dimension/proportion and in some cases with the Coat of Arms printed on it.
The lawmaker stressed the need to protect the country’s national symbols with updated laws., adding that advanced democratic countries have similar laws, which have over time led to the respect for national symbols in their citizens.
“National symbols are important instruments for creating and sustaining a people’s identity, ideals or ideas.
“Therefore de-constructing our instruments of national identity is tantamount to dissent and disrespect of our ideals as a people.
“These symbols are sources of pride for us all and we as lawmakers have the responsibilities to ensure this is so. I am therefore convinced beyond doubt that the enactment of this bill will go a long was in instilling in Nigerians the expected regard and respect for our national symbols henceforth” he said.
When put up for a voice vote by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the bill was passed unanimously and it was referred to the House Committee on Information National Orientation, Ethics and Values, for further legislative action.