The Borno State Government has shelved initial plan to declare Friday public holiday as part of activities for its first ‘Sambisa Memorial Day’ meant to celebrate the success of Nigerian Military and civilian volunteers in the fight against Boko Haram in addition to remembering fallen heroes and victims of the crisis.
The State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mohammed Bulama who announced this in a statement issued on Thursday in Maiduguri explained that the change is “on the ground that because 22nd December of this year falls on a Friday which coincidentally dovetails into a 4-day work free period occasioned by the Christmas Festivities, a declaration of the day as public holiday will invariably deny Nigerian workers resident in Borno State, especially those who will observe and celebrate Christmas, the opportunity to withdraw their December salaries from the banks”. He noted however, that the holiday will be strictly observed from 2018.
The Commissioner recalled that Governor Kashim Shettima had in March, 2017 pronounced the declaration of 22nd December every year as Public Holiday to commemorate Sambisa Memorial Day. The Nigerian Military took control of the Sambisa Forest on 22nd December, 2016.
“The purpose of this declaration is not only to give us a special opportunity to remember the victims of the Boko Haram terrorism as well as the members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, members of other security agencies and volunteers who lost their lives in the fight against the insurgents, but also to celebrate the strength and the victory of our gallant Armed Forces” He said.
“The decision to reconsider the declaration of the public holiday this year is singularly dictated by the desire of the Borno State Government not to impose avoidable and unnecessary hardship on workers and considering the importance of workers salaries to the economy of the State, the general citizenry by extension.
While Government sincerely regrets whatever inconvenience this decision might have caused members of the general public, it wishes to assure Bornolites that this public holiday will be strictly observed from next year, 2018 Insha Allah. The Government wishes to use this opportunity to commiserate with all victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially the families of tens of thousands who lost their lives, including the families of our fallen heroes of the Armed Forces and Civilian JTF.
His Excellency also implores on both the Islamic Ulamas and the Christian clergy to organize prayers for peace, harmony and prosperity to reign in our state, the rest of the north-east and Nigeria in general, and for the repose of the souls of all the victims of this ungodly insurgency and our fallen heroes.
Borno State Government deeply appreciate and commend all members of the Armed Forces, other security agencies and members of the Civilian JTF for their gallantry and sacrifice in the war against terror, which, Insha Allah, will soon come to an end. Finally, the Government wishes it’s concerned citizens Merry Christmas, and a meritorious New Year ahead” the Commissioner said in the statement.