MURIC tackles Nigerian govt for declaring Jan 1 holiday while ignoring 1st Muharram

Ishaq Akintola [Photo:]

Rights group, Muslim Rights Concern, has urged the Nigerian government to declare the first day of the Islamic calendar, 1st Muharram, public holiday just as the first day Gregorian calendar, January 1, has been earmarked.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, MURIC’s Executive Director, Ishaq Akintola, said the measure would help reassure muslims that they are being fully integrated into the Nigerian project.

“It is time for FG to add 1st Muharram to the number of Muslim holidays,” Mr. Akintola, a professor, said. “This will bring the total number of holidays enjoyed by Muslims to four only while Christians still continue to enjoy five.

“Finally, we advise FG and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to interact with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for the exact date of 1st Muharram this year and declare it as a holiday.

“For Nigerian Muslims to feel a sense of belonging, FG must close the gap between Christians and Muslims. There must be a conscious effort to fully integrate Muslims into the Nigerian project otherwise we may be sitting on a keg of gun powder. Justice is the soul of peace and whoever denies one can never enjoy the other.”




As usual and since colonial days into Nigeria’s post-independence period, the Federal Government declared today, 1st January 2018, as a public holiday.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) observes that today’s holiday fully consolidated the two-day Christmas holiday and enabled Nigerian Christians to kick off the 2018 Christo-Western Gregorian calendar.

However, conscious Nigerian Muslims, particularly stakeholders in the welfare of Muslims as well as the growth and development of Islam in Nigeria, approached today’s holiday with mixed feelings. First and foremost, we express happiness for our Christian neighbours who were able to spend the day giving full practice, expression and manifestation of their faith. On the other hand, we experienced a feeling of despair, isolation and marginalization.

Our feeling of marginalization arises from the reality of the Nigerian situation which has conditioned Muslims in the country for religious segregation and subjected them to spiritual apartheid.

Here we are today, enjoying January 1st holiday which was declared by the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria in recognition of the Christo-Western Gregorian calendar. But the same FG which recognizes this Christian calendar is yet to declare 1st Muharram a public holiday in recognition of the Islamic calendar despite several petitions and appeals to it dating back to the 60s. Surprisingly, some people still complain that Nigeria is Islamised!

For the avoidance of doubts, only two of the world’s nine calendars have either survived or remained relevant to us in Nigeria. The first was the Egyptian calendar which came into existence ten thousand years ago. This was followed by six other ancient calendars, namely, the Babylonian, Hebrew, Mayan, Chinese, Greek and Roman calendars.

Due to human errors in the Roman calendar discovered by Numa Pompilius (715 – 673 B.C.) and Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., the Council of Nicea of 365 C.E. came up with its surgical abracadabra by moving back the Roman calendar by four days. Thus March 25, 365 C.E. became March 21.

But even this historical razzmatazz was not good enough for Pope Gregory XIII (1502 – 1585) when he discovered on Thursday, October 4, 1582 that the equinox fell on March 11 instead of March 21. By royal fiat, Pope Gregory quickly slashed off ten days from the year 1582 and the next day, a Friday which would have been October 5, 1582 became Friday, October 15, 1582. It is this Gregorian calendar, which was a product of gymnastic make-belief, that the Western world uses till today. It was this same calendar, a sheer hocus-pocus that the British Christian colonialists forced on Nigeria.

Why is FG granting holiday for a false god of Rome and denying same for Allah the Creator of all things (Qur’an 2:29), the Judge of all Judges (95:8), Master of all masters (51:58) and the King of Kings (3:26).
We do not wish to be misunderstood: we are not agitating for the cancellation of anything which FG has given its over-pampered favourite, whether 1st January is based on falsehood and idolatory tendency or not is not our business, let them continue to enjoy it. But give us our day for crying out loud!

Fortunately MURIC has successfully resisted the collective amnesia which is rampant among Nigerians. We recall the torments suffered by Nigerian Muslims under colonial rule. The most relevant of these inhuman treatments was the denial of holidays for Muslims on their festival days.

Although the colonialists declared holidays for Easter, Christmas and 1st January, they bluntly refused to give any Muslim festival an equal status. Muslims were therefore forced to go to work on Id al-Fitr and Id Al-Kabir days. While Maulud an-Nabiyy was an anathema to the colonial master, 1st Muharram was blue murder.

Whereas Nigerian Muslims were able to secure public holidays for some of its festivals in post-colonial period by dint of struggles and determination, 1st Muharram remains a pipe dream till today. The question on the lips of Nigerian Muslims today, 1st January, 2018 as Nigerian Christians savour the sweet sensation of the holiday and relish in the euphoria of spiritual fulfillment is, “When will our own come? When will the Nigerian state treat Muslims as complete human beings? For how long shall we remain second class citizens?”

Research reveals that 1st January is in honour of Janus, the Roman god of gates whom the Romans believed protected them from invasions. This is an incontrovertible fact. Why should FG force us to idolize the false god of Rome? MURIC charges FG to drop its colonial garb and to don a truly nationalistic identity. On the contrary, the Islamic hijrah calendar is divine (Qur’an 9:36; 2:189; 10:5 and 17:12).

Nigerians enjoy a total of eight (8) public holidays in a year. These are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy. Five (5) of the eight holidays belong to Christians (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 1st January, i.e, New Year Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday). Only three (3) holidays belong to Muslims, viz, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy.

It is time for FG to add 1st Muharram to the number of Muslim holidays. This will bring the total number of holidays enjoyed by Muslims to four only while Christians still continue to enjoy five. This year’s 1st Muharram is likely to fall on Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 or thereabouts.

Finally, we advise FG and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to interact with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for the exact date of 1st Muharram this year and declare it as a holiday.

For Nigerian Muslims to feel a sense of belonging, FG must close the gap between Christians and Muslims. There must be a conscious effort to fully integrate Muslims into the Nigerian project otherwise we may be sitting on a keg of gun powder. Justice is the soul of peace and whoever denies one can never enjoy the other.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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  • Watch man

    I think it is ignorance that is your problem. If you are looking for public holiday let your sultan declare one for you. You could even declare one for yourself. Of all the things bedevilling Nigeria it is this insignificant thing that is of more concern to you. Fuel price has hit through the roof, roads are still in terrible condition, there is general power outage, many industries have closed shops, mass redundancy and hunger have become the order of the day, hospitals have no drugs and the wicked and heartless poli-tricks so-called leaders are busy lying and enjoying themselves, and MURIC does not see this. How does public holidays transform your life? If you are looking for holidays or vacation then declare one for yourself and stop inciting poor Nigerians against themselves.

    • emmanuel

      We know how the fraud at the onset of Islam transferred the place of pilgrimage to Mecca because of economic benefits to the Sultanate of Saudi.
      The man is not doing this without anything for him and his group. It is all about money

      • Onike24

        Fraud at the outset of Islam? Which fraud is that?

    • Tola

      The guy is just been mischievous, the Muslim has 5 days already (2 days for Id al-Kabir, 2 days for Id al-Fitr and a day for Maulud an-Nabiyy). He is out to cause confusion.

      • Rominiyis

        In reality public holiday does not uplift anyone economically. It just perpetuate laziness. Many hardworking citizens who run their own business are already ignoring the many religion holiday created out petty competition between the two dominant religions. The country is corrupt and morally decay because their activities is business disguise as religion.

  • Onike24

    For the avoidance of doubt, I consider myself a practising Muslim, but this is sheer stupidity! Nigeria is and remains a SECULAR country and with all the problems we have today, it’s Muharram and lack of it that is this mans problem? Unbelievably

    • Rominiyis

      God bless you. Thanks Allah for voice of reasons like yours

  • emmanuel

    The Yoruba muslims known globally as fake muslims are the ones who always agitate and ask for problems everywhere. I am yet to understand what volume of monies they get for these undertakers jobs.
    Some had NASFAT and behaved like they had a good cause, because Fola Adeola was giving them some monies whilst still in the saddle at GTB. NASFAT became a technical failure thereafter.
    I am sure Ihaq Akintola and his so-called MURIC have found another mugu to eat from, now that he is ever calling for some obnoxious recognition.
    He should go ask Aregbesola how some Arab Sheiks made him destroy the socio-cultural communal life of Osun state by causing a deep gulf between the three main religious groups, when they promised him all the fundings on earth if he make the state an Islamic State, then they abandoned him thereafter. To date, Osun State has become the poorest in Nigeria, far behind Zamfara.

    • Rominiyis

      Ishag Akintola does not represent Yoruba Muslims. He has no followers of any significance. The Nigeria press are his publicity outlet and he probably pay for the coverage. He get funds to carry out geopolitical agenda using religion but the Yorubas are wiser than his mentors and sponsors. He should be ignored.

  • marcos avelino

    Yes I agree totally with you a secular country should not be operating on a christian gregorian calendar. Muslims should demand a neutral one. Also weeklend should be on neutral days say tuesday and wednesday. Muslims are gradually waking up to confront southern pagans that became christians just a mere 100 yeras ago while islam had been in nigeria for over a thousnd years

    • emmanuel

      Lets talk about the origin of both. Even African religious worship, which is different from the idolatrous satanic religion of those who practice witchcraft is far more godly than the Islam you refer to.
      The Christian faith and what gave root to the Gregorian thing has longer history than Islam; which was an hybrid of Judaism and Christian faith copied by Mohammed, when he became so rebellious and ran away from his place of origin out of civil and criminal offences. Those acts that made him go on exile and dwelt among the jews from where he muted the idea of crafting a religion, could never have been acts of godliness.
      Please, take a deep breath and do an indepth research on Islam. That Islam had come into the arid North long ago does not obliterate the lies that form the basis of the religion.
      If you do not know, Islam is created as a distraction to the World by Mohammed a few centuries ago through the acts of demonism.

      • Abdullahi Muhammad

        It’s obvious that you’re one of those that Christ was referring to in Matthew 13:13 where he said, “seeing they see not hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”.

  • August January

    Femi Falana has said it: You see all sorts of professors in Nigeria these days!!!

  • Say the truth

    Ishaq kolo mental Akintola is at it again.

  • joe

    ALL Evil have been let loose from hell the moment buhari came to power. Too bad.

  • thusspokez

    … reassure muslims that they are being fully integrated into the Nigerian project.

    More like…into the ‘breakup Nigeria’ project. I don’t understand why instead of channelling their energy into promoting unity and stability in Nigeria, these people chose to do exactly the opposite.

  • Rominiyis

    Why can’t we give peace a chance for a minute and face real human development that will help the poor which is the most Godly thing to serve our God or Allah instead of amplifying every possible argument we can win against each other. Are we just existing in Nigeria for the first time. Whatever name you call it public holiday is for all and have no religion connotation. Gregorian calendar has become international standard many of the technologies we use in modern time is calibrated using it. Even Dubai has first of January funfare. How many things that can divide us are we going to use to cause problem. Islam and Christianity have become problematic for the world and a threat to world peace. Especially holier than Mohammed attitude of local cleric looking for relevance and making a living off religion. As we write CAR is embroil in religion civil war between Christians and Muslims. It started with small minds amplifying and taking advantage of every little thing they can use to claim a religion is taking advantage of the other.

  • Rominiyis

    This man Ishaq Akintola may eventually destroy the religious harmony that exists in South West Nigeria that president Buhari reference as worthy of emulation. He horn in on every divisive pettiness he can find and of course there are thousands of them. But is that really worshipping Allah ? What is his charity credentials? If a state appoint a commissioner he immediately sought out his religion and if he happens to be a Christian he demand a Muslim must also be appointed. Competence is of no importance to him. His only basis of judging anything is Christianity vs Islam that is dangerous for multi religion society. With Boko Haram blowing people up in the name if religion we better appreciate the peace we have left and preserve it.

  • Reginald Dandeson

    This is unbelievable. Is this man, Ishaq Akintola, really a Professor or one of those who were “dashed” political professorship out of religious consideration by the northern political rulers, military or civilian? I still remember that this was how one Ango Abdullahi was dashed that chair because of his rabid North-South, Muslim-Christian divisive posturing, and since then he has never looked back.

  • Charles

    the resources from the christian states are used to sustain your and your likes, this is the reason why ist of January is always declared a public holiday.