Some Islamic groups have called on the Federal and state governments in Nigeria to declare Muharram 1, the first day of the Islamic Hijrah Calendar 1435, as a public holiday.
The groups, in separate Hijrah 1435 A.H messages, said such a declaration would be in line with the rule of law, fairness and justice to Muslims in Nigeria.
The demand came from Muslim Consultative Forum (MCF), Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA) and Movement for Islamic Culture Awareness (MICA)
Others include the Muslim Community of Oyo State, (MUSCOYS), National Council of Muslim Youths Organisations (NACOMYO), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN).
MCF in its statement signed by its coordinator, Idris Usman, urged the Federal Government to give recognition to Muslim New Year in the interest of fairness.
MMPN in its statement signed by its chairman, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said that declaring Muharram 1, a public holiday would give Muslims a sense of belonging.
Muharram 1 is the Islamic calendar equivalent of January 1, which is observed as a public holiday in Nigeria. Muslims worldwide will usher in the new Islamic year Hijrah 1435 A.H. on Monday Nov. 4
“Muharram 1, is our own January 1, we want both the Federal and state governments alike to declare it as such in the interest of religious harmony in the country”, Balogun said.
In the same vein, UNIFEMGA in its message signed by Abdulwahab Egbewole, its National President, called on the government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar.
It congratulated Muslims and non-Muslims alike for witnessing another new Islamic year and urged them to reflect on their deeds and activities during the past year.
Egbewole also demanded an end to the prolonged ASUU strike in the interest of education advancement in Nigeria.
In his message, the Abuja Coordinator of MICA, Abdulbasit Bakare, said the declaration and recognition of Hijrah was long overdue and called for its immediate implementation.
He called on the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to enter into dialogue with the Nigerian Government on the issue.
On its part, the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) implored Muslims to rededicate themselves to the cause of building an egalitarian society and join hands with other Nigerians in moving the nation forward.
In its Hijrah statement, its National President, kamal’ddin Akintunde, reminded Nigerians that the task of making the country a virile nation was a collective responsibility of everybody.
He described series of attacks on innocent Nigerians by some insurgency groups as unislamic and pleaded with the affected groups to cease fire and stop violence as a demonstration of its readiness to embrace peace.
In its message, Al-Habibiyah Islamic Society felicitated with Muslims worldwide for Allah’s mercies in 1434 A.H and prayed that the New Year 1435 A.H. would usher in better things for all Nigerians.
“As we herald in the New Year, we again call on the Federal Government to initiate and implement people-friendly programmes that will ensure food security, economic empowerment, security of lives and property and adequate power supply, its Director, Fuad Adeyemi said.
Ishaq Akintola, the MURIC National Director in his statement entitled: “Tackle Insecurity Now”, expressed regret that the security challenges facing the country were enormous and require urgent attention.
He called on the Federal Government to properly equip the police to enable it carry out its functions.
Akintola called on Nigerians to complement the efforts of the Federal Government by providing useful information that could aid the police in carrying out its duties.
The Muslim Community of Oyo state also called on Isiaka Ajimobi, governor of Oyo state, to declare a public holiday for the residents in Oyo state.
The message signed by Ishaq Kunle Sanni urged Ajimobi to emulate his colleague in Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola by declaring a similar Hijrah holiday in the state.
Sanni also used the occasion to implore Muslims to turn a new leaf by jettison bad behaviour and embrace a new way of life in line with the dictates of Islam.
MSSN in its Hijrah message hailed those governors who had declared Muharram 1, as public holiday, and urged other state governors as well as the Federal government to emulate.
The Muslim students group also expressed worries on the prolonged ASUU strike, calling on all stakeholders to resume dialogue in the overall interest of students and educational development in Nigeria.
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