THE Federal Government, on Thursday, named a female Professor, Sadik Omowunmi and Professor Tanure Ojaide, as the 2016 winners of the prestigious Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM).
The chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), Professor Etim Essien, who announced this while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said this has brought the total number of recipients of NNOM since inception to 73.
He noted that each award recipient would go home with N10 million as the cash prize, in addition to Certificate of Merit that would be presented to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari is expected to perform the investiture on them on Thursday, December, 1, 2016, in accordance with the laws governing the NNMA at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Essien disclosed that, some of the criteria set and used for the selection of the awardees in the last 79 years, were the uniqueness of the research effort and the impact the intellectual and academic contributions have on the Nigerian environment and that of the world.
Omowunmi, a professor of Chemistry and the Director of the Centre for Advanced Sensors & Environmental Systems, at State University of New York, at Binghamton (SUNY-Binghamton), is reputed to have successfully translated basic research in biosensors into the design and fabrication of a prototype portable, fully autonomous, and remotely operated sensing device known as U-PAC™ (Ultra-Sensitive Portable Capillary Sensor.
The core objective of her research programme was to understand the mechanisms of how chemical information is transformed from one interface to another, and to use that knowledge to develop innovative sensing technologies, functional materials and devices.
The materials provide superior properties, which could meet the requirements of society’s expectations for a safer environment and sustainable future.
While Omowunmi is being recognised in the area of her scientific efforts to better the society, Professor Ojaide is considered for his specialty in humanities.
NNMA Board chairman said: “One of the unacceptable activities of various Nigerian scholars, had been the tendency to concentrate their researches on problems and issues that might not have been relevant to the needs of and aspirations of the country, except mainly those of political nature and whose essential criteria and considerations were politically driven.
“The NNMA which is an agency charged to seek out the best intellectual and creative Nigerian minds, was set up to seek accolades at home, and help in directing their energies, to finding solutions to Nigeria’s problem and thus promote national development and enhance good national image internationally, “ he said.
He further clarified that NNOM award was different from other categories of National Honours, as it is restricted mostly to Nigerian Academics both at home and in the Diaspora, who have attained extremely high intellectual excellence and achieved very significant creativity in their different fields of endeavours.
He disclosed that as a tradition, the Governing Board of NNMA sequel to the forthcoming NNOM Investiture, would organise the 9th Forum of the NNOM Laureates, which is expected to hold on 29 to 30 November.
He commended the committee of assessors, for their excellent and unalloyed personal integrity deployed in the evaluation of the award nominees; Essien said has consistently produced the NNOM Laureates including this year’s recipients, all with universal acclaim.


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