REWIND: In 2016, Buhari-led FG declared Eid-el-Fitr holiday before moon sighting

The sighting of the moon determines whether the Ramadan fast for the Muslim faithful will end on the 29th or 30th day.

To celebrate Eid-el-Fitr, which signals the end of the Ramadan fast, the federal government usually declares a two-day holiday. The first date is the day of the Eid-el-Fitr festival.

However, when the government announces the dates for the public holidays before the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) — which is usually determined by when the moon is sighted — an extension of the initially declared holiday becomes inevitable.

On Tuesday, the federal government extended the Eid-el-Fitr public holidays to Thursday, to add to the Tuesday and Wednesday that had been declared as holidays on April 7.


The federal government declared the holidays without waiting for the outcome from the moon sighting team.

On April 8, Muhammad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, said Wednesday will be observed as Eid-el-Fitr day.

The Sultan, who is the president general of the NSCIA, said the reports of the national moon sighting committees across the country confirmed that there was no sighting of the new moon on Monday.


Some Nigerians have argued that the federal government should have waited for the reports of the moon sighting committees before announcing the public holidays — pretty much insinuating that the government had jumped the gun.


In July 2016, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government announced an extra public holiday for the Muslim celebration because it did not wait for the moon sighting report.

The federal government had initially declared Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6, 2016, as public holidays.


However, after the announcement by the federal government, the NSCIA announced that the moon was not sighted on Monday, July 4, and that the fast would continue.

Wednesday, July 6 was thereafter announced as the date for the Eid-el-Fitr festival.

The federal government had to extend the public holiday to Thursday to align with the findings of the moon sighting committee.

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