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No, Nigerian Government has not announced three days holiday for Muslim festival

Photo Credit: BBC 2 mins read

Claim: A viral newslink, forwarded many times on WhatsApp, claims the Federal Government has declared July 20 to 22, 2021 as public holidays for Nigerians to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha

This message is misleading. The Federal Government has not declared three days (July 20 – 22, 2021) as public holidays for Nigerians to celebrate the Eid-ul-Adha Muslim festival.

Full Text

Eid-ul-Adha is one of the two most important festivals for Muslims the world over, especially in Nigeria which has a significant Muslim population. The date of the Eid-ul-Adha Festival is however not fixed because Muslims use the Hijrah (Lunar) Calendar which is not always equivalent to the Gregorian Calendar. Muslim faithfuls, therefore, count the Lunar Calendar and await Islamic leaders’ declaration of the dates they will perform significant spiritual events. 

In Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has declared Tuesday, July 20, 2021 (which is equivalent to 10th of Dhul-Hijja 1442AH) as the day of Eid-ul-Adha for the year. Muslim faithfuls and all Nigerians have therefore been expecting the federal government to declare public holidays to enable them celebrate. 

While the usual practice is for the Federal Government to declare two work-days as public holidays, Nigerian Muslims, especially those who travel far for those celebrations always wished for more days. This probably explained why many people shared the message when they saw a news link suggesting that the Federal Government has declared three days for holidays, instead of the usual two days.

Verification

Dubawa received a message that had been tagged ‘Forwarded many times’ by WhatsApp, stating that the Federal Government had declared July 20, 21 and 22 as Eid-ul-Adha holidays.

Screenshot of the WhatsApp message

Dubawa clicked on the news website link in the WhatsApp message (westerndailynews.com) but kept getting error messages despite trying several times.

Screenshot of the error message

Dubawa also searched all of the Federal Government’s social media website and did not see any message on the alleged declaration.

Official Reaction

Dubawa reached out to the Ministry of Interior and the staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity (because he was not authorised to talk) said the viral message is false, the Ministry will announce the public holiday later in the afternoon of July 15, 2021 and that it will likely be just two days (July 20 and 21, 2021).

Conclusion

The viral WhatsApp message claiming that Nigeria’s Federal Government has declared three days (July 20-22) for the 2021 Eid-ul-Adha is false and misleading. 

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