Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Osun State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has threatened that Christians in the state public schools will start wearing church garments to school if Governor Rauf Aregbesola goes ahead to implement the recent state High Court judgment of the wearing of hijab by Muslim students.
This statement was made through a communique issued and signed by the state CAN Chairman, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya, and made available to THISDAY at the end of an emergency meeting of the state CAN executive committee, heads of blocs and heads of churches held in Osogbo on Tuesday.
According to him, the meeting deliberated on the outcome of the Hijab Case with particular reference to the June 3, 2016 judgment of Hon. Justice Saka Oyejide Falola of the Osun State High Court, sitting at Court five Osogbo and resolved a number of issues.
“CAN states that it finds itself unable to agree with the judgement in its entirety as we have reasons to believe that it represents a study in premeditated adjudication that runs against the printed grain of legal submissions made before him. We have unanimously decided to appeal the judgement.
“Specifically speaking, Justice Saka Oyejide Falola, deeply violated the principle of fair hearing when he refused and or failed to hear, let alone rule, one way or the other, on the application for a joinder in the case properly filed and brought to his attention in open court by the interested parties whose schools were taken over forcefully by the government and stood to be affected by the judgment he later proceeded to deliver.
“Further, Justice Saka Oyejide Falola made an ancillary order which was not based, anchored or premised on any submission or prayer canvassed by the parties before him thereby saying by way of ancillary order, that the muslim female students hijab shall be in the color and design already approved by the 1st-3rd respondents and currently in use by muslim female students in public schools or any other design recommended by the 1st-3rd respondents.
“We maintain that since none of the parties in the case canvassed for such order, he went out of the processes to descend into the arena to suit the desire of his fellow religious faithful. It is, for now, better left to imagination, where Justice Saka Oyejide Falola came by this detail extraneous to the filed processes in the suit.
“That the judgment read severally that Hijab is a means of propagation of Islam which he said is a fundamental right of Muslim girls and ladies.This declaration violates the religious right of the original owners of the missionary schools as agreed upon when the schools were taken over by the then government of old Oyo State in 1975.
“That the government be wary about giving effect to this judgment which we suspect was masterminded by Aregbesola a la work-to-rule mode in line with his Islamisation agenda which was earlier stated by the Directorate of Military Intelligence in 2012 based on credible intelligence and corroborated by CAN in 2014. This toga of Aregbesola flies in the face of the fact of the overwhelming number of Christians in Osun State vis-a-vis Muslims.
“We urge all Christians in Osun State to be law abiding and live peacefully as we have always done with our neighbours irrespective of their religious inclination while we seek to employ all legitimate means to resist any form of Islamisation of our beloved State where, incidentally, Christians constitute the larger number.
“Where the Osun State Government is inclined to implementing the judgment Christian students in all public schools founded by Christians with the toil and sweat of our forefathers in the faith will have no choice but to start wearing Christian garments and vestments as part of their school uniform for the propagation of our own faith given the Justice Saka Oyejide Falola declared right of Muslim Female Students to do same as what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander as well. Adherents of other faiths who have their choice to make in this matter can wear theirs as well.
“We urge the Osun State House of Assembly to rise to the occasion as we find their silence on a matter of public interest this clearly capable of dividing the state, the security services, the civil service, the Market Women, School Students and all citizens along religious fault lines rather disturbing. It presents The Osun State House of Assembly as complicit in the putting together of the ticking and soon-to-explode time-bomb this matter certainly is”.
CAN called on all men and women of goodwill, Muslims and Christians, The presidency, The National Assembly and the international community to intervene in this situation before it escalates beyond control.