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A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has commended the Nigerian government’s decision to confer a posthumous honour on M.K.O Abiola and declare June 12 as Democracy Day.
Mr Falana in a statement on Thursday urged the government to further adopt Mr Abiola’s programme of Welfare to Poverty and respect the human rights of all Nigerians.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced the shifting of Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration from May 29 to June 12.
The president also said a posthumous national award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) would be conferred on Mr Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election for his huge contribution to the restoration of democratic rule in Nigeria.
“By declaring June 12 Democracy Day the Federal Government has officially validated the integrity of the fair and free election that was criminally annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida junta,” said Mr Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“By recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day the Federal Government has put an end to the hypocrisy of May 29 which was proclaimed by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime.
“By confering the posthumous award of national award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) on Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN the Federal Government has officially endorsed his enormous contributions to the titanic battle against military dictatorship and promotion of human rights in Nigeria.
Mr Falana called on the federal government to mark the first national democracy day on June 12, 2018, with the release of all citizens who are being detained illegally all over the country and immediate compliance with all valid and subsisting court orders.
“Furthermore, Mrs Kudirat Abiola who was brutally assassinated while defending the June 12 mandate and others who equally paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of democracy and rule of law deserve to be honoured posthumously.”