The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has appealed to relevant government agencies both at the federal and state levels to reconsider the choice of Saturdays for elections, environmental sanitations and examination exercises, because they pose a challenge to the church as their members are harassed and prevented from going to church on this day by security operatives and taskforces as the case may be.
The church said the exercises, which are obligatory, are now known to hold only on Saturdays, a situation that compel their members to make a choice between worship and election or writing an examination on Saturdays, which is the Sabbath Day.
The president of Adventist Men’s Organisation (AMO) of the Northern Nigeria Union Conference (NNUC) of the church, Pastor Dr. Freeman Daria, made the appeal at a press conference in Abuja yesterday as part of the activities to the kick start the Maiden Convention of the union slated for Abuja this week.
“We believe that Sabbath is a holy day and should not be used for personal, civil or public businesses/programmes, however we have some challenges as a church in Nigeria which include the following:
“Elections are conducted on Saturdays. Nigeria has a population of more than 180 million people making it the most populous country in Africa, and about 250,000 Adventist of voting age are being disenfranchised during elections, and we call on the government to remove election dates from Saturdays to other days of the week.
“Some countries like Mali, Ghana, Kenya and even United States of America do not hold elections on Saturdays, and this gives room for every citizen to participate during elections”, he said.
“We are praying that INEC should be considerate. We want Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to be exempted as weekend holidays and for religious purposes. Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of worship, therefore the government should do something about it,” Daria added.