COALITION OF CHRISTIAN GROUPS
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REVERSES EID-EL-FITRI PUBLIC HOLIDAY
As Nigerians, we congratulate the Muslims in the nation on their successful completion of the Ramadan fast in 2016. However, we are disturbed by the apparent shoddiness and confusion the Federal Government brought into the declaration of the Public Holiday rounding up the Muslim religious exercise.
The Federal Government had earlier declared Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th July as Public Holiday only to reverse itself and declare Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th July 2016 as Public Holiday. If this was done before Tuesday was observed as Public Holiday, it would have been tolerable but declaring Thursday 7th as Public Holiday in addition to Tuesday and Wednesday is a mark of institutional unseriousness. The implication now is that three days would be work free in the week.
We are equally appalled that the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau based the decision to declare Thursday as Public Holiday on “the directive by the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto, to the effect that the Ramadan fast continues today (Tuesday) as a result of the non-sighting of the moon”. We are not aware that Nigeria has transmuted into a religious theocratic state in which the leader of a religious group issues “directive” to the Federal Government. If the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs confirmed Wednesday and Thursday as Public Holiday for the Ramadan fasting, then who advised the Federal Government to declare Tuesday a Public Holiday?
As innocuous as some people may want to present this development, it is a dangerous signal confirming the worrisome direction of the party that promised Nigerians CHANGE from the lawlessness and impunity that seem to characterize this nation. Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has left no one in doubt of its discriminatory leaning towards Islam as the preferred religion in Nigeria, in violation of Section 10 of the Constitution. The Buhari Administration needs to be reminded again that Nigeria is not an Islamic Theocratic State that receives “directive” from a Sultan. Nigeria is a democratic and secular nation and preferential treatment should not be accorded any section of the nation but all should be treated equally.
If indeed a mistake was made in declaring Tuesday a Public Holiday that does not warrant declaring Thursday a Public Holiday. Both the Federal Government and leaders of Islam should have maintained the statutory two days Public Holiday and learnt a lesson on how to not to repeat the mistake in future. It is very embarrassing the tardiness and shoddiness that the Buhari Administration has brought into governance in Nigeria. Decent and respectable people are ashamed at the flagrant acts of discrimination, nepotism, and impunity of the APC led government.
We wish to state clearly that declaring Thursday an additional Public Holiday is not only wrong but an insensitive approach to the management of the economy. The economic well being of the nation should not be sacrificed on the altar of religious fervor.
Nevertheless, having illegally appropriated an additional day as Public Holiday during the Eid-el-Fitri, the Federal Government and leaders of Islam should be prepared to repay the nation the extra day during the next Eid-el-Kabir in which we expect only one day should be approved as Public Holiday. Nigeria should not be turned into a lawless nation. The APC led government should call itself to order.
COALTION OF CHRISTIAN GROUPS
1. NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
2. NIGERIAN CHRISTIAN GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP (NCGF)
3. THINK TANK FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST
4. CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON)
5. ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA (ACSIN)
6. STUDENTS CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (SCM)
7. CHRISTIAN PROFESSIONALS FORUM (CPF)
8. MINISTERS PRAYER NETWORK
9. INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM (ICEJ)
11. INTERNATIONAL PROPHETIC MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION (IPMA) (Inc. Worldwide College of Bishops & Ministers, Africa, UK & USA)
12. INTERCESSORS WITHOUT WALLS (IWW)
13. WAILING WOMEN INTERNATIONAL
14. FULL GOSPEL BUSINESSMEN FELLOWSHIP
15. NIGERIAN FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN STUDENTS (NIFES)
16. UNIVERSITY JOINT CAMPUS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (UJCM)
8TH JULY, 2016