Tunde Oyekola, Ilorin
The Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria has kicked against the state government’s approval of the use of hijab by female Muslim pupils in its public schools.
It said the new policy would “cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards”.
The government had last Friday closed down 10 Christian schools in Ilorin, the state capital, following tension on the wearing of hijab in the schools.
But while announcing the reopening of schools from Monday, March 8, 2021, in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Mamma Jibril, on Thursday, it said female Muslim students should be allowed to wear hijab in all grant-aided public schools in the state.
The statement titled, ‘Position of Kwara State Government on the Hijab Question in Public Schools,’ read in part, ‘Sequel to recent developments in our state over the status of the hijab in public/grant-aided schools, the state government has consulted widely with thought leaders and leaders of both Muslim and Christian communities with a view to clarifying issues and reaching a consensus.”
However, CAN, in a reaction, disagreed with the government over the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions.
It also accused the government of taking a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.
The association’s reaction was contained in a communiqué after a stakeholders’ meeting attended by proprietors of grant-aided schools, heads of block and heads of different denominations, and jointly signed by its Secretary, Rev Reuben Ibitoye, and Publicity Secretary, Apostle Sina Ibiyemi.
It read in part, “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.
“Christian mission grant-aided schools should be returned to the owners promptly as most of these schools have churches besides them and unnecessary trespass may lead to the breakdown of law and order. Christ’s faithful should occupy all grants-aided schools.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, proved abortive as he neither took calls nor replied to a text message sent to him.
Why we approved use of hijab in public schools –Kwara govt
However, Kwara State Government said it approved the use of hijab by Muslim female students in its public schools after consultations with stakeholders and relevant laws in the state.
It also said it recognised the right of every child in public schools to freedom of worship.