Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said the declaration of June 12 as a public holiday was a mere declaration of intention.
” As it relates to public holidays, there is truly a Public Holiday Act; but it is about the process and process of amendment, the minister said Wednesday, saying that the presidential declaration did not contravene the Public Holiday Act.
” At any rate, the Act can be amended and the process of amendment has been put in place. So, when the Act has been fully amended, the declaration of the President will come into effect. It is a declaration of intention, a declaration of desire and that will eventually be given effect with the act of amendment of the existing law.”
He said “On whether the President could single-handedly award post-humous recognition on any Nigerian, the Attorney General explained “The other question relating to posthumous awards. I think we need to make distinctions between the Nigeria National Merit Award Act and the Nigerian National Honours Act. They are two distinct and different applicable laws as far as National honours awards are concerned.
“You have the National Merit Award on the strength of which we have the law of the governing board comes into effect and then as it relates to the National Honours Act, the Board does not have any relevance in terms of processing of the Honours.
“For then, above all, we equally have in existence precedence as it relates to the award of posthumous Honours. I can recall that a former head of state, General Murtala Mohammed was equally honored posthumously amongst others.”
Buhari had last week Wednesday that henceforth, June 12 be observed as Democracy Day in Nigeria and that some heroes of democracy be given national honours.
The President had directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to take immediate steps to publish the Presidential Order in the Federal Gazette as follows:
Chief MKO Abiola – Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (Posthumous).
Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe – Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger
Chief Gani Fawehinmi – Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (Posthumous).