Towards preserving Nigeria’s identity and natural heritage, a Bill for an Act to Amend the National Flag and Coat of Arms Act of 2004, has passed second reading.
Sponsor of the bill, Sam Onuigbo (Abia-PDP) said this during the House of Representatives’ Plenary where members agreed that punitive measures should be put in place to discourage increased defacing of the National Flag.
He said many public and private offices had been changing the looks of the national flag by constructing the Coat-of Arms on it.
According to him, it is important to declare that any addition, subtraction or superimposition outside the version designed by Pa Michael Akinkunmi in 1959 is not the Nigerian flag.
The lawmaker said the bill aimed to amend Section 7 of the principal Act by inserting new paragraphs to provide for stiffer penalties for offenders.
He proposed the sum of N100, 000 fine for any organisation or anyone that tries to distort or change the national flag.
This amends Section 10 of the principal Act by removing the fine of N100 and replacing with the proposed fine.
The Flag of Nigeria was designed in 1959 and first officially hoisted on October 1, 1960. The flag is a vertical 1:2 triband of green, white, green. The two green stripes represent Nigeria’s natural wealth, while the white band represents peace.
The national flag is an adaptation of the winning entry from Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi in a competition held in 1959.
The original submission had a red radiating sun badge in the center triptych of one white vertical with a green vertical on each side.
After the badge was removed by the judges, the flag has remained unchanged. Like other countries, Nigeria has special ensigns for civil and naval vessels. Some of its states also have flags.
Akinkunmi was a twenty-three year-old student at the time he designed the flag. He was studying at Norwich Technical College in London, England, when he saw an advertisement in a newspaper that submissions were being accepted for the design of a new national flag of Nigeria.
In 1959 Akinkunmi’s design was chosen as the winner and, with adaptations, was first officially used on October 1, 1960, Nigeria’s Independence Day.
The coat of arms of Nigeria has a black shield with two white lines that form in a “Y” shape. The black shield represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two horses or chargers on each side represent dignity.
The eagle represents strength, while the green and white bands on the top of the shield represent the rich soil.
The red flowers at the base are Costus spectabilis, Nigeria’s national flower. This flower was chosen for inclusion in the coat of arms as it is found all over Nigeria and also stand for the beauty of the nation.
The white wavy pall represents the Niger and the Benue. On the banderole around the base is Nigeria’s national motto since 1978: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” (formerly “Peace, Unity, Freedom”).