Organised labour and human rights activists have urged Nigerians to ensure that democracy survives in the country.
They said: “The worst form of democracy is better than a dictatorship regime that would return the nation to a pariah state.”
Officials of National Union of Textiles, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) and the Executive Director of Human Rights Monitor (HRM), Mr. Festus Okoye stated this at the celebration of democracy day organised by labour in Kaduna yesterday.
They said: “We reaffirm our commitment to democratic process despite the challenges facing the economy. What Nigeria needs is to deepen democracy.”The NUTGTWN Secretary General, Issa Aremu urged Nigerians to resist any attempt to sabotage democratic culture that has taken root in the country, pointing out that; “non- accountability led to the wholesale corruption and mass poverty in recent time. Nigerians should therefore hold their elected leaders accountable.”
As part of the celebration, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has ordered the release of convicted prisoners. El-Rufai ordered the release of the inmates during a broadcast to the people of the state yesterday.
According to him: “On this day, as we celebrate democracy, our mid-term and the third day of Ramadan, we seek to also discharge our obligation to demonstrate mercy.
“Accordingly, in exercising the powers conferred on me by law, I have acted on the recommendations of the state committee on the prerogative of mercy, chaired by our Attorney-General, in respect of 24 prisoners.
Release orders have been signed for 23 convicts, including 15 who have three years or less to complete their terms.“Four have been pardoned for good behaviour, two are released on grounds of age and one person serving life is pardoned, after 25 years in jail. One convict who has spent 23 years on death row is released, while the death sentence of one convict has been commuted to life in prison.”