19th July, 2023




A Nigerian human rights advocacy group has commended Governors Ademola Adeleke and Seyi Makinde of Osun and Oyo states respectively for declaring Hijrah holiday today, Wednesday, 19th July, 2023. The human rights group, which spoke under the aegis of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), called on other states in the South West to emulate Osun and Oyo in showing respect for millions of adherents of the Islamic faith living in their states.



MURIC spoke through its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 19th July, 2023.


He said :


“Governors Ademola Adeleke of Osun State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State declared today, 19th July, 2023 as public holiday in recognition of the 1st day of Muharram 1445 in the Islamic Hijrah calendar ( The Hijrah holiday was also declared in several other states like Kano, Kwara, Jigawa, Kebbi, etc (



“We commend both governors for making this declaration. In particular, we appreciate Governor Makinde’s remarks which was contained in his pronouncement of the Hijrah holiday about ‘dedication to promoting inclusivity and celebrating religious diversity’ as well as ‘Oyo State’s commitment to upholding religious rights and beliefs of all citizens’.



“There will be greater inter-religious harmony if leaders give recognition to the faith of others and respect cultural diversities. The governor’s religion may not matter so long as he is openly fair to all.



“Both Ademola and Adeleke should lower their guards and appreciate MURIC for what it is. We will hold you accountable each time you shortchange Muslims. Yet we will not hesitate to appreciate you when you give us our due. Only an enemy of democracy and someone who has an anti-Muslim agenda will take offence for doing that.



“For instance, we reviewed our opinion about Makinde upon noticing the positive role he played in the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim as president. It implies that he is still ready to accommodate Muslims. Adeleke’s readiness to sustain the Islamic Hijrah holiday introduced in the Aregbesola era has given him a feather in his hat as a friend of Muslims, not an enemy.



“In this regard, we call on Governor Adeleke of Osun State not to entertain any fear about his faith. Every Dick and Harry knows where he belongs. Electorates of all faiths voted for him to become governor and they can do so again so long as he is fair to all.



“Muslims will reciprocate favourably towards any governor if he respects their faith and treat them with fairness and equity no matter the governor’s creed. The red lines are our civic liberties: respect the Allah-given fundamental rights of our children to use hijab in the schools, avoid infringing on our right to attend and observe the sacred Friday Jumu’ah prayer and give us our holidays (Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr, Maolud and Hijrah).


The Islamic human rights organization also advised states in the South West which did not declare the Hijrah holiday to do so without delay.


“We call on the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti to toe the line. The president of Nigeria today is a Muslim from the South West. It is our considered opinion that the Muslim president’s zone cannot afford to pursue anti-Muslim measures without staining the president’s good standing in the architecture of the Nigerian Muslim community.



“Such hostile posture against Muslims has consequences. It sends the wrong signals to the friends and allies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in certain quarters. As we revel in the euphoria of today’s victory, we must allow our body language to align with expectations and hopes for 2027.



“Nigerian Muslims are very sensitive about the way their brothers and sisters of the same faith are treated within and outside Nigeria and we have no scintilla of doubt that this is likely to determine the way 2027 goes.



“In other words, we must eschew actions capable of alienating our friends and allies of February 25, 2023. It is called forward-looking diplomatic engagement. We expect the governments of Lagos and Ogun where Muslim demographic status is overwhelming to be the first to emulate Osun and Oyo while Ondo and Ekiti with substantial Muslim population follow suit.”







Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

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