25th February, 2020
MURIC HAILS EKITI GOVT FOR EXTENDING MATERNITY LEAVE
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has hailed the government of Ekiti State for extending maternity leave for women in the service of the state government to six months. Governor Kayode Fayemi recently announced the extension of maternity leave in the state from three to six months.
MURIC lauded the state government in a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 25th February, 2020.
“On 11th February, 2020, Governor Kayode Fayemi announced the extension of maternity leave in Ekiti State from three to six months (https://tribuneonlineng.com/fayemi-approves-six-months-maternity-leave-for-workers-in-ekiti/). It is worth celebrating. The governor himself and the state assembly deserve laurels. It is a major milestone in good governance. A dividend of democracy has been given to nursing mothers in the service of the state.
“Thus Ekiti has followed the footsteps of Lagos. The Lagos State government took the lead in July 2014 when it approved six months maternity leave for nursing mothers and ten days paternity leave for fathers of new-born babies working in the state (https://www.channelstv.com/2014/07/17/lagos-extends-maternity-leave-female-employees-six-months/). The Federal Government (FG) also increased maternity leave to four months on 6th June, 2018 (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/271371-nigerian-govt-increases-maternity-leave-to-four-months.html).
“It will be recalled that our organization (MURIC) has been the arrowhead of the campaign for the extension of maternity leave for nursing mothers since 2013 (See: Oyeleke, S. “Give Women Six Months Maternity Leave – MURIC”, Sunday Punch, 11th August, 2013, page 5; https://nigerianewspapers.tumblr.com/post/57679903747/sallah-group-calls-for-6-month-maternity-leave). Our argument for the extension has always been based on the provision of the Glorious Qur’an that nursing mothers should breastfeed for two whole years (Qur’an 2:233). Although the Qur’an made this recommendation more than 1,400 years ago, it was only recently that modern science discovered that newborns should be breastfed for two years. It is a major plus for the genuineness of Islam as a religion.
“However, we made a special case for the extension of maternity leave to six months when health officials came up with the recommendation that newborns should be fed with breastmilk only in the first six months. We argued that the old practice of giving three months leave only to nursing mothers was not only anachronistic but also unrealistic and self-defeating if modern science recommends six months.
“We are therefore constrained to call upon FG to give an additional two months to nursing mothers in its service so that they too can enjoy a full six months maternity leave like their mates in Lagos and Ekiti states. Afterall what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Also, since FG is the father of all, and in view of the fact that the Lagos State government has granted its male workers ten days paternity leave, we appeal for a new paternity leave of 10 days to be given to all men in the service of FG.
“MURIC urges other state governments to emulate Lagos and Ekiti in administrative dynamism, giving a human face to governance and enhancing robust industrial relations by granting similar extension of maternity and paternity leaves to their workers. Ekiti can do better by going the whole hog to grant a 10-day paternity leave to its male employees.
“To conclude this advocacy, we recap our major points. We commend the government of Ekiti state for extending maternity leave to six months. We recognize the lead role played by the Lagos State government in this respect. We appeal to the Federal Government to add another two months to the present four-month maternity leave plus a two-week paternity leave to be enjoyed by men. In addition, we call on other states of the federation to emulate Lagos and Ekiti by giving a human face to employer-employee relations.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)