The Nigerian traditionalists, under the aegis of the International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR), have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to declare August 20 as a public holiday for them to worship God and their ancestors.
The body called on the President to, as a matter of fairness and equity, “establish a legal framework that recognizes and protects the rights of individuals to practice traditional religions.
This should also protect sacred sites and access to such places. It should also allow religious ceremonies and rituals, and ensure that traditional religious practitioners are not subjected to discrimination or persecution.
Nigeria Police and other Security Agencies should be authorized to arrest and prosecute anyone who tries to harass or intimidate any individual with the view of preventing them from the free exercise of their freedom of religion or right to affirm their individual belief, whether in public or in private.”
They added, “Grant due recognition to traditional religion alongside dominant ones in Nigeria; Grant all traditional religions AUGUST 20 as a Public Holiday for the entire practitioners of the religions in Nigeria to observe as a day to worship God and also venerate their ancestors.
Establish a Welfare Board for practitioners of traditional religions in Nigeria to, among other things, ensure they have due access to heritage facilities and sites that have a significant link with their faith and belief system.
Include us in interfaith dialogue and other relevant platforms when formulating policies or making decisions to ensure that our perspectives are also taken into account