A coalition of 22 Christian groups in Nigeria led by National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) on Tuesday condemned and criticised the federal government 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 smacks of usurpation of government functions.
This condemnation is coming barely two months after they had accused President Muhammadu Buhari of taking instructions from the Sultan.
It was reported that in July 2016, Christian organisations criticised government over the extension of public holiday by the presidency over the non-sighting of the moon by the Sultan.
In a statement issued by the chairman of NCEF Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN), on behalf of the coalition, he stated that it was “very improper for the head of the Islamic faith in Nigeria to announce, declare or extend public holidays.
“We call on the federal government to rise to its task and cease abdicating its responsibilities to the head of a religion. We do not want what happened during the time of Abacha, when Sultan Dasuki was dethroned by Abacha to repeat itself. It should not be forgotten that apart from Christianity and Islam, there exist in Nigeria various traditional religions that are the foundation of our culture as Africans.
“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.