Senate concurs with House on June 12 as Democracy Day

Senate Thursday concurred with the House of Representatives on passage of the bill seeking to legalise June 12 of every year as Democracy Day in Nigeria , as against May 29 that has been the tradition since year 2000.

This is as the upper legislative chamber also concurred with the House of Representatives on passages of five other bills, totaling six altogether taken as Bills passed in concurrence.

President Muhammadu Buhari had  in June  last year as a way of immortalising the late Chief Moshood Olawale Kashimawo Abiola widely believed to have won the June 12 , 1993 Presidential election  , declared June 12 of every year as the new Democracy Day.

In giving the presidential declaration , the required legal teeth , Hon Edward Pwajok ( APC Plateau) and Kayode Oladele ( APC Lagos),  sponsored a bill to that effect in the House of Representatives last year which was passed for third reading in March this year .

The bill as drafted by the two lawmakers and passed by the House in March , sought   for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria in view of  current realities and exigencies of the modern times.

Pwajok who led debate on the bill in the House, said that before 1979, there were separate Acts regulating public holidays in the country.

He  recalled that in 1975, a law was made to repeal all state laws on public holidays and to streamline the process of declaring holidays for the federation.

According to him, by law, the President may declare any day as a public holiday by public notice or act through the Minister of Internal Affairs.

He said that by the schedule of the Act, some days such as New Year Day, National Day like October 1 and religious festivals are set aside for public holidays.

He added  that in 2000, the National Assembly amended the schedule to add May 29 as Democracy Day but in  May 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari announced June 12 as the new Democracy day.

He explained that for the pronouncement to become effective, there has to be an amendment of the Public Holidays Act.

Passage of the bill for second and third reading in the Senate Thursday , was sequel to a motion moved to that effect by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan ( APC Yobe North).

Others bills moved for concurrent passage by the Senate with the House of Representatives were the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils Service Commission ( Est  etc) Bill 2019 and  Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency ( Est  , etc) Bill 2019 .

Others were Projects Development Agency Enugu PRODA ( Est, etc) Bill 2019, Good Samaritan ‘s Bill 2019 and Data Protection Bill, 2019 .

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