The Christian Association of Nigeria has condemned the Kwara State government over its approval of wearing of hijab in grant-aided schools, where its use is disputed
The government had earlier closed down 10 grant-aided schools in Ilorin, the state capital, following tension on the wearing of hijab in the schools.
But while announcing the reopening of schools in a statement last Thursday, the Secretary to the State Government, Mamma Jibril, said female Muslim students should be allowed to wear hijab in all grant-aided public schools in the state.
Reactions have continued to trail the decision with many questioning the rationale behind such a move.
Commenting on the development, CAN, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, said the governor of the state, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, should immediately withdraw his government’s approval of such.
The association also advised the government to wait for the court’s decision over the issue as it is a pending matter in court.
CAN alleged that some sets of persons had gone to schools in the state to enforce the wearing of hijab in secondary schools including the schools owned by mission agents but aided with grants by the government.
They warned that the association will use all lawful means to reverse the order if the government refuses to withdraw the directive.
The statement read, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, to immediately withdraw his government’s approval of wearing of Hijab in schools in Kwara State, including Christian mission schools.
“This advice is necessary because we see the action of the governor of the state as premature and equally prejudicial. It appears to be a contempt of the court because the governor is aware that there is a pending court case on this matter over which the court had earlier ruled that the status quo should be maintained. Is the governor now saying that he is above the law? What is going to spoil if we all wait for the court to pronounce judgement on the matter? Why this hasty action?
“We recall that some people took the law into their hands in the state by going from school to school to be enforcing the wearing of hijab in secondary schools, including the schools owned by mission agents but are only grant-aided by the government.
“Instead of the government to caution such trouble makers and admonish them to wait for the court process to be concluded and judgement delivered, the government of Kwara State has shown its religious bias by the blanket approval of the wearing of the hijab, even in Christian Mission Schools.
“This action of the government of Kwara State is not only discriminatory and divisive, but it equally suggests that the government was the one behind the earlier illegal enforcement of the wearing of hijab in Christian schools. While the government may give directive on its schools, it ought to respect the schools it does not directly own and did not start, and respect the religious cultures of such schools as well.
“We urge the political elite to stop using their religious overzealousness in causing division in the society but rather treat all equally irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation. If we would all do pilgrimage together, there must be fairness to all, mutual respect and justice. No political leader should use his or her position to further the cause of any particular religion or ethnic group for peace to prevail.
“The Governor of Kwara State has shown an open bias for one religion with his inability to wait for the court process to be concluded over this matter.
“CAN has resolved to use all lawful means to reverse the order if the government refuses to withdraw the directive.”