We Won’t Tolerate Hijab in Kwara Mission Schools – CAN

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Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Christian Association of Nigeria, Kwara State chapter has stressed that it will not allow the use of hijab by its pupils, despite the directive by the Kwara State government that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools be permitted to wear hijab.

Last week, the state government had approved the wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.

It also added that the 10 Christian schools shut down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.

In its reaction, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not succumb to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, claiming that they were bemused that the government was making a decision on a matter that was pending before the Supreme Court, Punch reports.

CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”

Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.

The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.

Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.

“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.

“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.

“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”

Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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