ECWA, Anglican deny allowing hijab in Christian schools
Methodist prelate urges tolerance
Authorities of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion have refuted the allegations that they have conceded to the directive of Kwara State Government for the use of hijab in their schools.
ECWA Schools, Oja-Iya, and Bishop Smith Memorial College, both in Ilorin, were among the 10 schools in the eye of the storm over the hijab controversy.
ECWA described the news as completely misleading, untrue and provocative. It added: “This is a mere propaganda.”
Its Anglican counterpart said it would never succumb to pressure from any quarter to change the doctrines of the church and the founding fathers of the school.
The two Christian denominations deplored unprovoked attacks on their members, warning against further attacks. The Chairman, ECWA District Church Councils, Rev. (Dr.) Vincent Akintunde, said: “We would like to put the records straight by asserting that ECWA is totally against the use of hijab in our grant-aided mission schools. We wish to inform the general public that our initial concern was not the use of hijab, but ownership of the schools. Muslim groups subtly introduced the issue of hijab to the case to distract us from our primary concern, even while the matter is still pending in the Supreme Court.
“We consider the re-opening of the 10 grant-aided mission schools and the permission to use hijab by government as premature, ill-motived and gross violation of the rule of law.”
Archbishop Israel Amoo of Kwara Anglican Diocese said the state should not be portrayed as an Islamic state, just as he urged the heads of security forces in the state to maintain neutrality on the issue.
BUT the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, has called for tolerance and religious harmony among Muslims and Christians in Kwara. He made the call in the wake of the crises that greeted the decision of the state government to approve use of hijab (veil) in schools across the state.
The prelate, yesterday, at the service of induction for Very Rev. Monday Onyemara as the 8th General Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) in Lagos, said the crisis that followed the decision of the government borders on bigotry.
He said: “I don’t think we should be so fastidious about these things. There should be tolerance. In fact, the quarrel in Kwara is unnecessary. It borders on immaturity and religious bigotry. I don’t think Christians should close schools to girls that wear hijabs. I don’t support it. They should allow them to come to school. But Christians who go to Muslim schools should not be forced to wear hijabs. It is a matter of religious tolerance. In fact, if we begin to talk about religious differences in Nigeria, there would be no harmony.”
He, however, expressed readiness to visit Kwara for mediation in the crisis, urging politicians to right every wrong they ignited in the country.