Through a circular which originated from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim all Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been warned to respect the nation’s anthem and stop using tattered national flags and Coat of Arms. The MDAs and their staff members were also urged to honour the country whenever the national anthem is being played.
According to Anyim, in the circular, disrespect for national symbols is an offence against the state. An excerpt from the circular is given below:
“It has been observed that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as public officials are not according the deserved respect to Nigerian National Symbols (Flag, Coat of Arms, National Anthem and the Pledge)… It has therefore become necessary to re-emphasise that it is a civic responsibility of all citizens to show respect to all such National Symbols.
“All MDAs are accordingly reminded that the National Symbols are signal of Authority and Instruments of State that should be respected as acts of patriotism and national duty… For the avoidance of doubt, Section 5 of the Flag and Coat of Arms Ordinance No. 48 of 1960 stipulate that ‘any person who flies or exhibits the National Flag in a defaced or bad condition shall be guilty of an offence against this Ordinance’”.
“Similarly, Chapter 2, Section 24 (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, enjoins all Nigerians to “respect the National Flag, the National Anthem and the National Pledge.
“The purpose of this Circular is, therefore to request all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to henceforth ensure that respect for the National Symbols are sustained and enhanced and to guard against inappropriate (a)Flying tattered/faded/defaced National Flags; (b) Hoisting and flying smaller sized National Flag along with bigger corporate flags; (c )Using the National Flag for trade adverts; (d) Hoisting and flying National Flag at the same height with non-National Flags; (e) Burying a deceased person with the National Flag except when duly entitled; (f) Inappropriate positioning of the Coat of Arms in offices; and (g) Lack of respect when the National Anthem is being played at officials functions
“All MDAs are further reminded that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has enough standard National Flags modern fibre glass poles with accessories Coat-of-Arms and National Anthem to meet their demand. You are therefore, free to contact the agency.”
This is indeed a welcome development from the SGF. The leaders should however lead by example. More so, they should also lead the country in such a way that Nigerians will be proud to identify with her and all her symbols