Abuja – Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take measures to end the incessant killing of Nigerians in parts of the country.
Falana made the call at the National Honours Investiture for heroes of democracy, especially late Chief MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election in the country, at Aso Villa, Abuja.
The president had on Wednesday announcing the national honours award to Abiola and his running mate in the election, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi.
He also declared June 12 as new Democracy Day in the country in place of May 29.
Falana said that killings in the country were beginning to escalate and called on the president to urgently address it.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) assured that Nigerians, especially human rights group, would support the government in the effort to quell the acts.
According to him, human rights community in the country will work assiduously with your administration to put an end to the reckless killing of our people.
Falana also requested the President to direct security forces in the country, including the police, to respect fundamental rights of every Nigeria in the spirit of June 12.
He deplored the rampant incidents of flagrant abuse of rights of Nigerians by security operatives without cause.
The human rights lawyer also advised Buhari to engage Nigerians in meaningful fight against poverty in the country.
“Let me tell you what late Abiola would have wanted you to do. We want you to engage Nigerians to wage a meaningful fight against poverty in the country.
“We have enormous resources to make Nigerians happy.
“Section 16 of the Nigerian Constitution ensures that the collective wealth, commonwealth of Nigerians remains in the hands of the masses and not in the hands of a few.’’
He commended Buhari for the posthumous award conferred on Abiola and recognition of June 12 as democracy day.
“Mr President, we want to thank you very tremendously for recognising June 12. Some people are saying you should declare the result; you have declared the result.
“We now know the winner of that election officially, who is now being honoured with the order of GCFR reserved for Heads of Government in Nigeria.
“Before this regime, we have had seven governments that pretended that June 12 never existed. In the words of Abiola, we were clapping with one hand, but today, we are clapping with two hands,” Falana said.
On his part, renowned labour leader, Chief Frank Kokori, said that Buhari as the least person expected to honour late Abiola, but that honouring him had confirmed that he (Buhari) had a great soul.
“If this is coming 25 years later, it means one day your country will remember you because some of us felt “what sort of country is this?’’ when we came out of Abacha’s gulag and were not recognised.
“Like my personal experience as one of the most famous prisoners of conscience in the world, I saw that my country did not even appreciate the four years I spent in one of the worst cells in the world.’’
Former governor of Ogun, Chief Olusegun Osoba, expressed gratitude to the president for recognizing June 12, and described his apology to the nation and Abiola’s family as “the greatest joker’’.
Osoba urged him to do more by building on the larger indications of the June 12 elections by implementing sustainable development.
“We are prepared to march behind you on any legacy you want to construct on the foundation that you have laid,’’ Osoba promised.
A former Speaker of House of Representatives, Chief Agunwa Anekwe, said the honour was not just on late Abiola but on every Nigerian who died in the struggle for June 12.
He said that June 12 had been troubling the nation for long but that Buhari had put the struggle to rest.
Anekwe noted that the president had tried in the fight against Boko Haram, but urged him to give more attention to addressing security challenge in the country. (NAN)