Does the Sultan have the powers to declare a public holiday?

Four days ago, the Sultan of Sokoto confirmed that the supreme council of Islamic Affairs had confirmed sighting of the moon.

This happened according to the Islamic calendar of Zulhijja, 1437 AH, (on Friday, September 2, 2016), which was the 29th day of Zulka’ada, 1437 AH.

The Sultan accepted the reports and accordingly declared Monday September 12the as this year’s Eid el-Kabir holidays.

That statement did not go down well with prominent Christian bodies in the country as many a beginning to question the powers of the Sultan.

An alliance of more than Christian associations in Nigeria has decried the Sultan’s proclamation.

The group, led by National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), said the declaration of September 12 as public holiday by the Sultan of Sokoto was the height of impunity.

Recall that in Christian organizations criticized the extension of public holiday by FG over non-sighting of the moon by the Sultan.

According to NCEF’s, Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN), “It is very improper for the head of the Islamic faith in Nigeria to announce, declare, or extend public holidays.

“This is the function of the Federal Government and need not be abdicated.

“This kind of anomalous development has not been taking place in Nigeria until the advent of the Buhari Administration.

“The President has gone to great lengths to deepen religious divide and tension in Nigeria.

“Again, we have no objection whatsoever to the Muslim Public Holiday.

“Our concern is that in a secular society as Nigeria, the responsibility of declaring or announcing a religious Public Holiday is vested in the Federal Government and such responsibility is sacrosanct.

“We are aware of various manipulations to transform Nigeria from a Liberal Democratic society to an Islamic Theocratic State.

“The nation is yet to resolve this unilateral imposition of one religion over the nation by Babangida.

“Even the sponsors and actors of the membership of Nigeria in OIC in 1986 were aware of the illegality of their action.

“It was kept out of public knowledge for 10 years until 1996 when Sultan Dasuki confirmed to the Pope that Nigeria was a full member of the OIC.

“Any attempt to distort that delicate balance in Nigerian shall produce nothing but destruction and devastation.

“There is still time for religious extremists to desist before they push Nigeria off the brink of the precipice,” the statement read.