The Human Rights Writers Association of
Nigeria, HURIWA, has accused the
Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman
Danbazau of breaching 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 to mark the Eid-el-Fitr
from two to three days.
The pro-democracy group also slammed
the Federal Government for creating
uncertainty and causing commotion to the
businesses and the private sector by the
unilateral and impromptu declaration of
an extension of the public holiday to mark
the end of the fasting season by Muslim
In a statement jointly signed by its
National Coordinator, Comrade
Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National
Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf,
HURIWA said the Nigerian Constitution
clearly provided in section 10 that no
particular religion should be elevated to a
status of a state religion.
It stressed that the wordings of the official
press statement authorised by the
Minister of Interior “conveys the
impression that this government has
tacitly adopted one of the two foreign
religions as it’s administration’s official
religion”, stressing that such move is
absolutely unconstitutional and must be
denounced forthwith.
The Rights group further stated that “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 arbitrary create more
national holidays which contributed next
to nothing to the growth and
advancement of the National economy.
It lamented that the business community
in other parts of the globe will see Nigeria
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 said it “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 group 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
grundnorm is now the person tele-guiding
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.
“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 catastrophic national
crises 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.”