Many top government officials use the wrong national flag in their offices, according to a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Sam Onuigbo.
The legislator, who recently proposed a bill to amend the coat of arms and flag act at the House of Representatives, disclosed this while speaking on the Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday.
He was speaking on the background of the unfortunate situation at the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s governorship rally in Osogbo, Osun State on Wednesday where the national anthem was started and stopped repeatedly ahead of the commencement of the programme.
Hon. Abike Dabiri, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had, however, issued a statement apologising for the confusion.
She said one of the protocol officers asked for the national anthem to be stopped after getting the wrong information that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, was close to the venue.
But most people who have reacted to the incident called it a disrespect to the country.
Onuigbo lamented that most Nigerians lacked respect for national symbols, adding that most top government officials used the wrong national flag with a national anthem superimposed in the middle.
“People who are looked upon, mix up the Nigerian flag. They don’t accord our symbols the respect that they truly deserved.
“When I reviewed the act that was enacted in 1960, I now found out that in one of the sections which talked about offences, the fine there is N100.
“And I think this could have been the reason why people are playing around it and I felt we should amend it, raise the fine and then raise awareness.”
He narrated a story of a teacher who asked her student to draw the national flag and insisted that there should be an imposition of the coat of arms in the middle which the student argued against.
“The teacher was ignorant maybe due to the kind of flags that she sees either in vehicles or on display or in some people’s offices; even those of us who are at the National Assembly, some ministers.
“I had issues with a number of them when I went to their offices and I saw that they were displaying the wrong flag. I called their attention and say ‘try and change this flag, it’s not the flag you should be using’.
“The day I moved for the amendment of this bill, the flag behind the Speaker was also this flag with a superimposition of the coat of arms.”
He called on Nigerians to show more patriotism by respecting all the national symbols.
Onuigbo also urged the National Orientation Agency to carry out more sensitisation on the need for Nigerians to take their civic duties seriously.