Three Nigerians Awarded MBE In UK’s New Year Honour List 

At least three Nigerians have been recognised in this year’s annual New Year Honour list in the UK for their services in their various communities.

Bertha Daniel Yakubu, a community activist in Aberdeen, was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her “services to the African Community and Integration in Scotland”.

She established the African Women’s Group Aberdeen in 1994 before going on to chair African Women’s Group Scotland.
Mrs Yakubu told the P & J live website that when she first moved to Scotland from Nigeria, she didn’t see many other Africans and felt quite isolated.
She said: “I was lonely, frustrated and sad – my husband was studying in Dundee, then he got a job in Aberdeen, so we moved up in 1993.
“I was going to Aberdeen Women’s Centre, but I couldn’t find any African women there, but I would walk down the street and begin to see people who were like me.
“When I found enough (African women) I called a meeting and from there, we made friends and supported each other.”

Ajibola Tokunbo Lewis was recognised for “Services to Mental Health”. She and her husband championed the passing of the Mental Health Unit (Use of Force) Act, 2018. The act, known as Seni’s law after their son, Olaseni, was introduced as a private member’s bill by the Labour MP Steve Reed. It requires mental healthcare providers to keep records of the use of force, and to train staff in de-escalation techniques to help reduce the use of restraint.

Finally, Dr Oluwole Olawale Folayan, a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), has been recognised for “services to equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering”.
Dr Folayan, known as Ollie, co-founded the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK (AFBE-UK) in 2007 alongside his sister, Dr Nike Folayan, who is also an MBE. AFBE-UK provides support to students and professionals, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, promoting higher achievements in education and engineering.
Speaking about his MBE, Ollie said:

“I was thrilled and surprised to receive this recognition. Back in 2007 when my sister, Nike, and I set up AFBE-UK, we did not imagine that it would have the impact it has gone on to have.

“This recognition is for all of our members who work selflessly for the benefit of others. We hope this gives our work even greater visibility so that people of all backgrounds feel engineering is a career they can thrive in. Our objective is to ensure that our organisations look like the communities in which we operate. That is the most exciting thing about this.”