22 Christian Groups Attack Sultan Of Sokoto For Announcing Eid El-Kabir Holiday


An alliance of 22 Christian groups in Nigeria led by National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) on Tuesday, September 6th, expressed complete disapproval over the  declaration of September 12 as public holiday in commemoration of Eid el-Kabir celebration by the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, stating that it spells a forceful take-over of Federal Government functions.

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III who is the Sultan on Friday, September 2, announced that Muslims will observe the Eid el-Kabir on Monday, September 12.

A statement endorsed by the chairman advisory committee on religious Affairs at the Sultanate council in Sokoto Sambo Junaidu, it was disclosed that the committee together with the moon sighting committee received reports from different committees in Nigeria over the Eid el-Kabir.

Junaidu said this followed the declaration of Saturday, September 3, as the first Zulhijja, 1437 AH. Having accepted the committee reports the sultan further declared the Eid el-Kabir day, Junaid said.

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However, describing the declaration as unconstitutional, Mr. Solomon Asemota who is the chairman of the NCEF, issued a statement on behalf of the coalition saying it was “very improper for the head of the Islamic faith in Nigeria to announce, declare, or extend public holidays.” The coalition therefore called on the federal government to rise to its task and cease abdicating its responsibilities to the head of a religion.

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22 Christian Groups Blast Sultan For Announcing Eid El-Kabir Day

The statement read:

“We unequivocally wish to state that it is very improper for the head of the Islamic faith in Nigeria to announce, declare, or extend Public Holidays.

“This is the function of the Federal Government and need not be abdicated. This kind of anomalous development has not been taking place in Nigeria until the advent of the Buhari Administration which has gone to great lengths to deepen religious divide and tension in Nigeria.

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“Again, we have no objection whatsoever to the Muslim Public Holiday but our concern is that in a secular society as enshrined in Section 10 of the Constitution, the responsibility of declaring or announcing a religious Public Holiday is vested in the Federal Government and such responsibility is sacrosanct.

“We are not unaware of various manipulations and acts of impunity to transform Nigeria from a Liberal Democratic society to an Islamic Theocratic State. As we stated in our previous paper, the full membership of Nigeria in OIC, in 1986, by the Babangida Military Administration is tantamount to making Nigeria an Islamic state.

“The nation is yet to resolve this unilateral imposition of one religion over the nation by an individual. We also conclude that the present distress in the nation, occasioned by religious intolerance and insurgency, from the development of Boko Haram to the evolving of fanatical Muslim assailants, like the Fulani herdsmen, derive from this unilateral and improper decision of the Babangida Administration.  

“Even the sponsors and actors of the membership of Nigeria in OIC in 1986 were aware of the illegality of their action and as such, kept it out of public knowledge for 10 years until 1996 when Sultan Dasuki confirmed to the Pope that Nigeria was a full member of the OIC.

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“We wish to remind the present Administration that religion is a very sensitive and emotional aspect of Nigerians. The wisdom of the founding fathers of this nation to adopt Liberal Democracy as national ideology to accommodate all the divergent groups in the nation cannot be faulted.  

“Any attempt to distort that delicate balance in the Nigerian society shall produce nothing but destruction and devastation as the nation is currently witnessing. There is still time for religious extremists to desist before they push Nigeria off the brink of the precipice.”

The coalition stated that they do not want a repetition of what took place during the time of Abacha, when Sultan Dasuki was dethroned by Abacha. It also reminded the government that that apart from Christianity and Islam, there exist in Nigeria various traditional religions that are the foundation of our culture as Africans.

It therefore advised that the Federal government should continue to play its neutral, non-aligned role in the best interest of the nation.

Meanwhile, we await the declaration of the Eid el-Kabir public holiday by the  Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the coalition stated.