By Nafisat OPAKOJO
The Kwara State Government officially approved the use of hijab in public schools and grant-aided missionary schools in the state. This was announced on Thursday, 25th February, 2021 by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mamma Sabah Jibril. (https://dailypost.ng/2021/02/26/kwara-approves-use-of-hijab-in-schools/).
According to the statement, the decision was reached by the state government after considering submissions of all major interest groups, the education law of Kwara State, the prevailing court judgments and current global trends of multiculturalism.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Islamic human rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has applauded the decision. In a statement captioned ‘MURIC lauds Kwara Gov For Approving Hijab’, the organization described the decision of the state government as bold, forthright and far-reaching.
The Muslim rights advocacy group also advised Christian groups in the state to accept the state government’s decision, respect the rule of law and eschew actions capable of causing any breakdown of law and order. MURIC’s statement which was issued on Monday, 1st March, 2021, was signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads:
“We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcome the decision of the Kwara State Government to approve the use of hijab in all public schools. It is a step in the right direction. This approval will cement the course of justice. It is bold, forthright and far-reaching.
“In particular, we commend the State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for having the courage to call a spade a spade, for standing up for the truth and for giving due recognition to the rule of law. Just like in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (1596), but without the malicious and satirical twist of Shylock, this is, indeed, ‘a Daniel come to judgement, yea! A Daniel!’ A wise governor, ‘how we do honour thee’.
“Nonetheless, MURIC is appalled by the response of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kwara Chapter to the state government’s statement. CAN argued that approval of hijab in schools would ‘allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards’. How naïve and shallow! If the hijab can allow terrorists to identify Christian children, does it also help in identifying Muslim boys? This line of thinking is kindergarten, insipid, infantile and pedestrian.
“Equally egregious, audacious and despicable is the call by CAN on Christians in the state to occupy schools. In the words of CAN, ‘Christ faithfuls should occupy all grant-aided schools’. This can only be compared to the failed attempt by CAN Osun State chapter to frustrate the decision of the state high court when the latter approved the use of hijab in February 2014.
“In a most laughable, unwise and Bohemian decision, CAN Osun chapter directed Christian children to wear masquerade and church choir dresses to school! Of course they failed because although Christian children obeyed CAN, the hocus pocus did not last since it was abnormal. Female Muslim children continued using hijab with their school uniform to date because it is their daily practice. For how long can anyone continue wearing masquerade garb and church choir dresses around town?
“In like manner, we must ask CAN Kwara chapter, for how long will you occupy grant-aided schools? What kind of example are you giving your children when you know that such a step means confrontation with the state government and rejection of the pronouncement of the courts? Are you aware that you are inciting your followers to lawlessness? Are you aware that you are encouraging your followers to disobey constituted authority contrary to the teachings of the Bible?
“Whereas the Bible says, ‘Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s’ (Mark 12:17), CAN is determined to engage in a wrestling match with Ceasar. Again in his letter to the Romans, Paul the Apostle says, ‘Let everyone be in subjection to the authorities’ (Romans 13:1), CAN Kwara chapter says, ‘Disobey the authorities’.
“Even CAN sounds incoherent and uncoordinated in its response. The same CAN that orders its followers to occupy grant-aided schools is the same group that pledges interaction and dialogue, ‘We shall continue to interact and dialogue with the State Government…’ It is the height of hypocrisy.
“This CAN leadership is capable of anything. The state government must therefore be on the lookout. CAN leadership in Kwara State may be planning to import hoodlums into the state to implement its #occupygrantaidedschools agenda. The same hired hooligans may unleash mayhem on the state when the planned occupation fails.
“MURIC advises other state governments in the South West to emulate Kwara and Osun states by declaring the approval of hijab in public schools. It is the path of honour. It is also the only way towards respecting the rule of law and upholding the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution.
“We advise CAN to accept the state government’s decision in good faith, respect the rule of law and eschew actions capable of causing any breakdown of law and order. We urge Muslims in the state to ignore all forms of provocations and to remain calm and law abiding.”
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