Alfa Belgore

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Alfa Belgore has said the award of Nigeria’s highest national honour to late Moshood Abiola is illegal.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presented the presumed winner of 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, with the title of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), 20 years after his death in 1998.

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The president also declared that Democracy Day would be celebrated on June 12 to further honour Abiola.

Belgore, CJN from 2006-2007, said the national honours cannot be awarded posthumously, much less the GCFR, which is the highest honour in the land.

“It is not done. It is for people living. The only thing they could do is to name a place after him, but national honours award, no,” Belgore told Premium Times.

Belgore, chairman of the 2016 national honours committee, also said he “was not consulted” by the Buhari administration before the decision was taken.

He said under the 1963 National Honours Act only soldiers or other servicemen could be awarded posthumous medals for their bravery.