Hijab: CAN Accuses Kwara Gov of Bias, Warns against Instigating Religious Crisis

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the Governor of Kwara State, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of exhibiting religious bias by the blanket approval of the use of hijab in Christian Mission Schools.
It said the governor should immediately withdraw his government’s approval of wearing of Hijab in schools in Kwara Stat, including Christian Mission schools or face legal action.
CAN said the advice had become necessary because it views the action of the governor of the state as premature and equally prejudicial.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Bade Daramola, said the governor had shown open bias for one religion with his inability to wait for court process to be concluded over the matter before giving his order on hijab.
“It appears to be a contempt of the court because the governor is aware that there is a pending court case on this matter over which the court had earlier ruled that the status quo should be maintained.

“Is the governor now saying that he is above the law? What is going to spoil if we all wait for the court to pronounce judgement on the matter? Why this hasty action?,” CAN asked.
CAN said that it had resolved to use all lawful means to reverse the order if the government refused to withdraw the directive.
“We recalled that some people took laws into their hands in the state by going from school to school to be enforcing the wearing of hijab in secondary schools, including the schools owned by mission agents but are only grant-aided by the government.
“Instead of the government to caution such trouble makers and admonish them to wait for the court process to be concluded and judgement delivered, the government of Kwara State has shown its religious bias by the blanket approval of the wearing of hijab, even in Christian Mission Schools,” it said.

CAN said that the action of the government of Kwara State was not only discriminatory and divisive, but it equally suggests that the government was behind the earlier illegal enforcement of the wearing of hijab in Christian schools.
It noted while the government may give directive on its own schools, it ought to respect the schools it does not directly own nor started and respect the religious culture of such schools as well.
“We urge the political elites to stop using their religious overzealousness in causing division in the society but rather treat all equally irrespective of religious and ethic affiliation.
“If we would all do pilgrimage together, there must be fairness to all, mutual respect and justice. No political leader should use his or her position to further the cause of any particular religion or ethnic group in order for peace to prevail,” said CAN.