The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA ) has set its sights on the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Danbazau (rted.), accusing him of flouting 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 from two to three days.
The group also faulted the Federal Government for creating a considerable degree of uncertainty and causing commotion to businesses and the private sector by the unilateral and impromptu declaration of the extension of the public holiday to mark the end of the fasting season by Muslims.
HURIWA in a statement jointly issued by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the Constitution clearly provided that no particular religion should be elevated to a status of a state religion.
The Rights group said the wording of the official press statement authorised by the Interior Minister conveyed the impression that the government has tacitly adopted one of the two foreign religions as its official religion. This the group said is absolutely unconstitutional and must be denounced forthwith.
It further said that the business community in other parts of the globe will see the country as economically unstable if the political leaders were 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.
“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,” HURIWA stated.