Borno State will in 2018, observe a public holiday to celebrate the capture of Sambisa Forest from Boko Haram insurgents.
The holiday had earlier been fixed for Friday (today) but cancelled due to the Christmas holidays.
The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mohammed Bulama, in a statement issued on Thursday in Maiduguri explained that the holiday was cancelled “on the grounds that since 22ndDecember of this year falls on a Friday which coincidentally dovetails into a four-day work-free period occasioned by the Christmas festivities, a declaration of the day as a 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 would be observed from 2018.
The commissioner recalled that Governor Kashim Shettima had in March, 2017 declared December 22 every year as a public holiday, saying, “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.”
Bulama added, “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 the 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.”