The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has said it will not thank the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde for declaring Tuesday, August 10, as Hijrah (Islamic New Year) holiday.

The Islamic organisation accused the governor for refusing to recognise Hijrah Day in 2019 and 2020 as against the legacy of his late predecessor, Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi.

Seyi Makinde

MURIC explained that throughout the eight-year tenure of the late former governor, Hijrah days were often enjoyed by Muslims as it was declared public holidays.

It added that the Seyi Makinde-led government initially failed to follow suit, claiming it was not gazetted by the previous regime.

The group, therefore, condemned Governor Makinde for discontinuing a continuum, saying Oyo Muslims wouldn't not thank him for declaring the Hijrah holiday afterwards.

While congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari and other islamic dignitaries on the occasion of the Hijrah Day, the group's Director and Founder, Professor Ishiaq Akintola, in his Hijrah message on Monday, commended the state governments that recognised the Hijrah Day by declaring a public holiday despite not being recognised by the Nigerian Government.

He noted that the states had deemed it fit to hearken to its call to do the needful.

Akintola, however, said the group would continue to monitor the states that declared the Hijrah holiday this year.

He said, "As more than 1.8 billion Muslims around the world mark this year’s Hijrah Day 1443 A.H., the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulates President Muhammadu Buhari, the leader of all Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar, leaders of all Islamic organisations and Nigerian Muslims in general.

“It will be recalled that MURIC called for the declaration of a holiday today, Monday 9th August, 2021 in order to mark Hijrah Day (1st Muharram, 1443 A.H.). Although the Federal Government (FG) has not declared the Hijrah holiday, many states have deemed it fit to hearken to our call by doing sthe needful. Among such states are Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Osun and Oyo. MURIC commends state governors who took this bold step.

“But the case of Oyo State must be singled out because of what is playing out in Ibadan. Whereas Oyo Muslims enjoyed Hijrah holiday for eight good and uninterrupted years under the late Isiaka Ajimobi who was the immediate past governor of the state, the incumbent, Engr. Seyi Makinde chose to out-Herod Herod by discontinuing the continuum for two consecutive years (2019 and 2020).

“Makinde has another thing coming if he thinks Oyo Muslims will thank him for declaring Hijrah holiday this year. It is our right and our right is our right. It is not a privilege and no matter how long, all those who are depriving Muslims of their Allah-given fundamental human rights will be disgraced when Muslims secure those rights willy-nilly, without bloodshed or any form of violence. We will get there one day.

“Makinde’s excuse for refusing to recognise Hijrah Day was that it was not gazetted by the previous regime. We hope it has now been gazetted. The governor has forgotten that Oyo Muslims cannot be fooled. Is it gazette they are asking for or Hijrah holiday? How did they enjoy it under Ajimobi without a gazette?

“What does the Muslim in the street care about gazette? All he wants is his Hijrah holiday but now he knows that his right was abridged with impunity by Makinde for two years. What we know is that government is a continuum and a policy decision is a policy decision. Makinde has discontinued a continuum. It is not done. It is a major breach of protocol and an inexcusable administrative infringement.

“The struggle continues next year. MURIC will monitor those states that declared Hijrah holiday this year. We are still marshalling reports from our state branches even as we warm up for more activities next year.

“For the records, MURIC adopted dialogue only on this issue because of the prevailing air of insecurity in the country. Peaceful demonstrations can be hijacked by rebellious and irredentist elements. We do not want to use a wrong method to pursue a good cause. The senseless destructions which greeted #EndSARS protests are enough as a lesson. Nonetheless, it is our hope that Federal Government will do everything necessary to declare a public holiday to mark Hijrah Day in 2022.”

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