…It Was Act Of Injustice -AbdulRafiu

By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin

Tensions occassined by government’s approval for girls to wear hijab in Christian schools can be said to have calmed down in Kwara State on Monday, when such schools did not open again.

Kwara State government had via a memo, signed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the schools, ten in number, which were shut down two weeks ago would “remain shut until a later date.”

She had said, “The Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development wishes to inform members of the public that the 10 government schools where the use of hijab is disputed will remain shut until a later date.

“This decision has been taken for safety reasons. The government therefore directs schoolchildren and teachers in the affected schools to remain at home until the contrary is announced.

“The government remains committed to fairness, pluralism, and respect for the law and rights of every citizen at all times.”

Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in a statement signed by Bishop S.T.G Adewole, said “Following the decision of the Kwara State government to postpone the resumption of the closed school, we therefore direct that no one should embark on any protest or occupy any of the affected schools, please

“This becomes imperative to forestall pandemonium in our State of Harmony.”

Christians, at the instance of CAN and leaders of the owner churches of the 10 affected schools had directed their members to occupy their schools and ensure that no student wearing hijab was allowed entrance to the schools.

CAN also urged all Christians across the state to join these owner churches to prevent hijab wearing female students from entering the schools.

Earlier on Sunday, Christians from
various denominations had gathered at St. Barnabas Cathedral for a congregational prayers against what they described as attempt by the government to take their rights of ownership of schools from them.

Various churches, including the Baptist, ECWA, C&S, Anglican, among others had addressed press conferences, where they claimed that their schools were allowed government-aided schools, and not as public schools in 1974.

They added that they would not succumb to any forceful attempt to debase their faith under the guise of government ownership which was at variance with what obtained in 1974.

The churches therefore demanded for the return of their schools to them in the alternative.

The affected schools included: C&S College, Sabo, Oke; St. Anthony College, Offa Road; ECWA School, Oja Iya; Surulere Baptist Secondary School; Bishop Smith Secondary School, Asa Dam and CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam road.

Others are: St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo Oke; St. John African Church School, Maraba; St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo Isale; and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.

Meanwhile, a Muslim; Abiona Abdulrafiu, has declared the agitation for the use of hijab in Christian Mission schools as an injustice and threat to religious harmony that has been in existence for long in Kwara State.

Abdulrafiu said, “Even though, it’s the right of the Muslim female students to wear hijab according to the tenet of Islam, that right does not mandate them to attend schools that do not permit or believe in such doctrine.

“The same right that Muslim Female students have is the same right that the Christian school proprietors also have to determine the dress code of their schools.

“Muslim students that can’t go to Muslim schools or government-established schools, but preferred the Christian Mission schools should be ready to abide by the rules and regulations of such schools.

“In the same vein, any Christian student that preferred Ansarul-Islam School should be ready to abide by their rules.

“The fact that the Christian Mission Schools were established by different Churches can’t be overruled; and for anyone, government, or religious body to now rise and fight for the use of hijab in such schools is the highest level of injustice and the beginning of religious acrimony.”


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