The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Ecclesiastical Province of Kwara, has called for a peaceful resolution of the Hijab controversy rocking the state.
To achieve this, the church advised the Kwara Government to revisit the original document stating the terms of the partnership with grant-aided mission schools.
The Anglican Communion also called on the Kwara House of Assembly to intervene and ensure that peace reign in the state.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Archbishop of Kwara, The Most Rev. Israel Amoo, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Saturday.
According to the statement, the Supreme Court is yet to rule on the issue concerning the schools.
“Our attention has been directed to the current controversy on the use of hijab in Christian Missionary schools in Kwara state and the attendant complications and conflicts.
“We believe that the greatest need of any society is peace and harmony especially in a state christened as the State of Harmony and where this is compromised it is a dangerous trend.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kwara state held several consultations with the state government and subsequently made the position of the owners of the Christian schools known in very clear and unambiguous terms.
“We absolutely align with the position of CAN and restate that we do not allow the use of hijab in our schools, as it negates our belief and doctrinal principles, on which the schools were founded in the first place.
“These schools have been in existence for many years, we even learn on good authority that the incumbent executive Governor of Kwara attended one of them.
“Over the years Christian and Muslim students have been co-existing therein without acrimony on religious bias. Why are we now creating this problem to heat up the polity unnecessarily?
“Furthermore, we are aware that there is a matter in the Supreme Court concerning these schools, as law-abiding citizens, we ought to maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the matter.
“We as Christians are peaceful, law-abiding and God-fearing people. However, we would neither compromise our faith nor trade away our heritage as a result of intimidation or harassment of any magnitude or intensity,” the statement read in part.
The Anglican Communion condemned the attacks on Christians and their properties while advising the government on the way forward.
“The resort to attacks on our people and properties will do no one any good but may result in a conflagration the effect of which no one will be able to imagine.
“We, therefore, counsel as follows: That the state goverment should revisit the original document stating the terms of the partnership which the Kwara State government envisaged in 1974.
“That every subsequent legislation and executive orders that gradually withered the original terms be rescinded for the purpose of peace and progress in these schools in particular and the state in general.
“That the exercise of the right to attend a school presupposes that the student will abide with existing school rules, regulations and fundamental principles. If every student has to adopt a dress code peculiar to his or her religious belief then the word uniform would have been rubbished and become meaningless.
“That the Kwara state government should return to the negotiating table with all stakeholders as it is always better to “jaw-jaw than to war-war”. The Government should know that “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
“That Nigeria and every part thereof is constitutionally a secular state and any attempt to surreptitiously make Kwara an Islamic state as has been erroneously mentioned in some quarters is unfortunate, insensitive and unlawful.
“We appeal to the Kwara State House of Assembly to step in and ensure that peace reigns in the State of Harmony.
“We appeal to the state government, the Kwara Commissioner of Police and other security outfits to demonstrate absolute neutrality and ensure that peace and security prevail without favouritism or nepotism.
“We continue to pray that the God of peace who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead will revive peace in Kwara in particular and Nigeria in general,” the statement further read.