On Tuesday, November 1st, a Lagos Federal High Court heard a suit filed by a Lagos-based lawyer and activist, Chief Malcom Omirhobo, arguing that the rescheduling of public holidays should be declared as ‘unlawful’.
Chief Omirhobo is seeking an interpretation, as to whether in the face of the Public Holidays Act of 1979, it is legal for the for government to reschedule public holidays from Saturdays or Sundays to Monday.
The plaintiff seeks a declaration, that the public holidays Act, is the law guiding the declaration of public holidays in Nigeria, and any declaration of holidays without compliance with the Act, is unlawful and void.
The plaintiff’s suit is brought pursuant to the provisions of order 3, rules six, seven and eight of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure rules of 2009. Defendants in the suit are: the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Interior.
Omirhobo seeks an interpretation whether it is lawful for government to even extend public holidays beyond the days set out for them. His arguments are;
- Is it lawful for the defendants to have declared May 2 (Monday) as public holiday for the celebration of worker’s day, instead of May 1 (Sunday)?
- Is it lawful to have declared May 30 (Monday) as public holiday for the celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy day, instead of May 29 (Sunday)?
- Is it lawful to have extended the Eid-el-fitri celebration beyond July 5 and 6, to July 7, making the holidays three days in a roll?
- Is it lawful to have declared October 3 (Monday) as public holidays for the celebration of Nigeria’s 56th independence, instead of October 1 (Saturday) for which it was originally scheduled?
Ahead for next year, Omirhobo now seeks a court order, compelling the defendants not to declare October 2, 2017 (Monday) as public holiday for the celebration of Nigeria’s 57th independence, in place of October 1, 2017 (Sunday).