From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the recent approval granted by the Kwara State Government for students in Christian schools to wear the hijab to school.
CAN implored state Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to immediately withdraw the approval of the wearing of the hijab in schools in Kwara State, including Christian Mission schools.
CAN General Secretary Joseph Daramola, in a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, said the governor’s action was premature and prejudicial.
‘It appears to be a contempt of the court because the governor is aware of pending court case on the 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?,’ Daramola queried.
CAN condemned the action of some people allegedly sponsored by the state government who were going from school to school enforcing the wearing of the hijab in secondary schools, including the schools owned by Christian missions.
The Association was particularly concerned that the state government had ‘openly’ showed religious bias when it did not caution the troublemakers and admonish them to wait for the court process to be concluded and judgement delivered.
‘The action of the Kwara Government 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,’ the CAN statement continued.
‘While the government is at liberty to give directive on its own schools, it ought to respect the schools it does not directly with respect to the religious cultures of such schools as well.
‘It, thus, urged the political elites to stop using their religious overzealousness in causing division in 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 in order for peace to prevail. Kwara Governor has, obviously, shown an open bias for one religion with his inability to wait for the court process to be concluded over this matter.’
The CAN General Secretary said the Association has resolved to use all lawful means to reverse the order if the government refused to withdraw the directive.