President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit awards on three professors.
The professors are Seth Sunday Ajayi, award in Science category, Francis Abiola Irele, award in Humanities category, and Hilary Inyang Inyang who bagged the award in Engineering/Technology category.
The president was represented at the investiture by the Vice-President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, at the Presidential Villa.
The Nigerian National Order of Merit Investiture is held on December 5 of every year and is meant for Nigerians both in and outside Nigeria who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields.
At the ceremony, Jonathan charged the recipients to tow the lines of their predecessors by being role models for young generations.
He disclosed that the award, which was initiated 30 years ago, has had 70 recipients so far, adding that it was a prestigious and highest award at it celebrates excellence.
The president, who congratulated the recipients, also urged them to contribute their services to both political and scientific development of the country.
He equally enjoined Nigerian youths to emulate the feat and good examples shown by the recipient, with a view to working hard and contribute to the development of the country.
Jonathan lauded the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award for doing a good job, saying their requests would be given attention.
He announced that the federal government would co-opt Prof Ajayi into the Greenworld project where his experience in afforestation would come in handy.
The Chairman, Governing Board of NNMA, Prof. Oluwafeyisola Sylvester Adegoke, had earlier urged the recipient to always be a beacon of excellence and hope for all Nigerians, saying the nation was expecting a lot from them.
On behalf of NNMA, Adegoke pleaded that the federal government should set up Nigerian National Research Development Fund, among other requests.
The chief host of the award, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said the award was a celebration of excellence, commitment and achievements.
He announced that cash to awardees was approved by Jonathan and jerked up from the initial N5 million to N10 million with effect from 2010 to promote excellence.