Kwara: Crisis brews over use of Hijab in Christian schools
There may be a commotion, tomorrow, in about 10 Christian secondary schools in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, if the imbroglio surrounding the use of veil (hijab) by Muslim female students, is not amicably resolved.
The 10 schools built by different Christian denominations had experienced grant aiding by the state government, 47 years ago, during the military era of the late David Bamigboye, as the governor.
Kwara State government had set up different committees, the latest being the one headed by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi, to resolve the crisis.
Besides, it is believed that the matter over hijab had reached the Supreme Court, as church leaders and their Boards of Trustees were said to be praying the court for a return of these schools to their owners.
Shina Ibiyeye Esq, who is the Spokesman for the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said the issue of hijab was not raised at any level of the litigations over the battle for the return of the schools to owners.
Ibiyeye, while citing a trite cliche on law, said: “No known court under the sun should grant any request that was not pleaded for by the litigants appearing before it.” He wondered how the issue should be included in any judgment.
He said despite the development, the status quo ante should have been maintained until Supreme Court’s decision was churned out on the issue.
He faulted the government’s stance on the usage of the veil in designated schools.
Already, the state’s CAN said it would resist such a move, saying churches concerned would not let go the heritage of their forebears “at whatever price.”
A popular radio Islamic preacher in Ilorin, Prof. Abubakre Ali-Agan had sued for peace, imploring parties in the crisis to embrace tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
Already, the Baptist Conference and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) jointly criticised the state government for allegedly taking a wrong decision in approving the wearing of hijab in grant-aided mission schools.
President, Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev. Victor Dada said the government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.
Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev. John Owoeye said: “We demand the return of our schools to us in earnest. We refuse enforcement of hijab on our pupils, knowing full well that our schools are church heritage and we shall use every licit means to protect it. We promise to defend our faith and property with the whole of our strength and might.”
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