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Christian Body Fault Buhari, Dambazzau Over Public Holiday’s Extension



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Minister of Interior Gen. Abdurahaman Dambazzau
Minister of Interior Gen. Abdurahaman Dambazzau

Reactions have continued to trail Federal Government’s declaration of last Thursday as additional public holiday.

The latest criticism came from a Christian group under the auspices of National Christian Elders Forum, which faulted the extension of public holiday by an additional day, over non-sighting of the moon during the recent Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

Solomon Asemota, Chairman of the Christian Elders Forum, alleged that Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, erred by advising the Federal Government to extend the public holiday to Thursday last week.

He said the extension portends a dangerous precedent and an indication that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was taking instructions from the Sultan.

The Federal Government had earlier declared Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6 as Public Holidays only to reverse itself and declare Wednesday July 6 and Thursday, July 7, 2016 as Public Holidays.

Some economic analysts had estimated the total loss to the country due to the holiday extension at $1.88 billion dollars.

NCEF suggested that government and Islamic leaders should compensate the country for the extra day, by approving only one day during the next Eid-el-Kabir festivities.

A statement signed by Asemota and obtained by our Correspondent in Abuja, also carpeted the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it was becoming obvious that the ‘change’ the party promised Nigerians especially from the lawlessness and impunity that characterised this country, was drifting the country to a wrong direction.

“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 Holidays rounding off the Muslim religious exercise.

“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 was that three days were made work-free in the week.

“We are equally appalled that Abdulrahman Dambazau, the Minister of Interior, 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, 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 Holidays 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 characterise 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,” part of the statement read.

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