Posted by News Express | 6 July 2016 | 4,051 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Minister of Interior retired General Abdulrahman Dambazau of a breach of section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution (as amended) by taking directives from a private religious leader, the Sultan of Sokoto, in adjusting a national holiday from two to three days.
The group has also carpeted the Federal Government for creating a considerable degree of uncertainty and causing commotion to businesses and the private sector by the unilateral and impromptu declaration of the extension of the public holidays to mark the end of the fasting season by adherents of the Moslem faith.
In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf HURIWA, said the Nigerian Constitution has clearly provided in section 10 that no particular religion should be elevated to a status of a state religion.
The rights group said the wordings of the official press statement authorised by the Interior Minister conveys the impression that this government has tacitly adopted one of the two foreign religions as it's administration’s official religion. This, the group said is absolutely unconstitutional and must be denounced forthwith.
Besides, the rights group said it is economically suicidal for a nation on the brinks of economic recession and comatose for the political class in power at the centre to arbitrarily create more national holidays which contribute next to nothing to the growth and advancement of the national economy.
HURIWA stated that the business community in other parts of the globe will see the country as economically unstable if the political leaders are allowed to get away with the political vice and criminality of arbitrarily extending days of national public holidays at the whims and caprices of certain persons with ulterior religious sentiments.
HURIWA recalled that in what is interpreted by critical thinkers as an unprecedented decision in recent years, the Federal Government has extended the ongoing Eid-el fitr holiday to Thursday, July 7, making the holiday lasting for three days.
The government had last week declared Tuesday July 5 and Wednesday July 6, 2016 as public holidays. But the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, in a statement on Tuesday signed by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Bassey Okon Akpanyung, added Thursday to the two days.
HURIWA strongly faults the aspect of the official government statement which clearly states that state institutions and officials now take directives from private leaders of religious bodies when, according to the statement, the decision followed the directive by the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, to the effect that the Ramadan fast continues on Tuesday as a result of the non-sighting of the moon.
The rights group has therefore demanded clear, concise and with constitutional precision, a Presidential explanation to Nigerians on why a private religious leader who is not part of the democratically elected structures, recognised by the nation’s grand norm is now the person teleguiding the Federal Government on when and how to declare or modify a national activity such as the declaration of public holiday which is the statutory duty of the elected and inaugurated government.
It said: “We are worried that at a time that President Muhammadu Buhari is accused of appointing and allocating almost 80 percent of all the strategic military and paramilitary positions to HAUSA/FULANI Moslems from the North, and at a time the entire maritime and crude oil sector are dominated by appointees by Buhari from his Northern region, the minister of Interior who recently appointed an entirely Moslem and Northern heads of agencies under the Interior Affairs ministry is conveying this sinister impression that Islam is now the official religion. We condemn this total affront to constitutionalism and we caution this government to thread softly and stop creating an atmosphere of mutual disaffection and distrust which may snowball into a national crisis of monumental proportions if unchecked. We call on statesmen and women who love Nigeria to call President Muhammadu Buhari to order so he does not lead Nigeria into perdition.”
•Photo shows President Buhari.
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