For the umpteeth time, the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has reiterated its call on both the Federal and state governments in Nigeria to declare Muharram 1, the first day of the Islamic Hijrah Calendar 1443 A.H, as a public holiday.
In the Hijrah 1443 A.H Message, the National President of MMPN, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun said such a declaration would be in line with the rule of law, fairness and justice to Muslims in Nigeria.
Balogun urged the Federal Government to give recognition to Muslim New Year in the interest of fairness as benefitted by the Christian brethren on every January 1.
This gesture, he stressed, would give Muslims a sense of belonging in the polity.
“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.
He implored government at various levels to recognise the Hijrah calendar and use it side by side with the Gregorian calendar in line with the country status as a multi-religous state.
Balogun 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.
He asked Muslims to use the opportunity of the New Year to migrate from their evil ways in the past to renew their commitments in the New Year and pray to Allah to end the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic which had ravaged the world and insecurity challenges in Nigeria.
The MMPN President also called on the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to enter into dialogue with the Nigerian Government on the issue.
He implored Muslims to rededicate themselves to the cause of building an egalitarian society and join hands with other Nigerians in moving the nation forward. .
Balogun, however, commended state governors who had declared public holiday for Islamic New Year especially in the Northern part of the country as well as Oyo and Osun states in South West, urging others to emulate their colleagues.
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.
Balogun equally called for a stringent legislation against rapist in the country, saying it was getting too rampant because the culprits always get away with it.