Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Ecclesiastical Province of Kwara has vowed not to compromise its faith or trade away its heritage as a result of the current intimidation and harassment over the use of Hijab in Christian missionaries’ schools in the state.
The church, during the weekend, also aligned with state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the total rejection of wearing of Hijab in missionaries’ schools in the state.
A statement issued in Ilorin and signed by Archbishop, Most Revd. Israel Anoo, stated that “the use of Hijab has negated their belief and doctrinal principles on which the schools were founded in the first place.
“These schools have been in existence for many years. We even learn on good authority that the incumbent Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, attended one of them.
“Over the years Christian and Muslim students have co-existed therein without acrimony on religious basis and why are we now creating this problems to heat up the polity unnecessarily.
“Furthermore, we are aware that there is a matter in the Supreme Court concerning these schools, as such being law abiding citizens, we ought to maintain status quo pending the outcome of the matter.
“We as Christians are peaceful, law abiding and God fearing people. However, we would neither compromise our faith nor trade away our heritage as a result of intimidation or harassment of any magnitude or intensity.
“The resort to attacks on our people and properties will do no one any good but may result in conflagration, the effect of which no one will be able to imagine.”
The Archbishop called on the state government to revisit both its approval on the use of Hijab in the affected schools and the original document stating the terms of the partnership that should exist between the Kwara State Government and the schools as envisaged in 1974.
Amoo pointed out that “every subsequent legislation and executive orders that gradually withered the original terms be rescinded for the purpose of peace and progress in this school in particular and the state in general.
“The exercise of right to attend a school presupposes that the student will abide with existing school rules, regulations and fundamental principles.
“If every student has to adopt a dress code peculiar to his or her religious belief, then the word uniform would have been rubbished and become meaningless.”
The church leader also advised the state government to return to the negotiating table with all stakeholders as it is always better to “jaw-jaw than to war-war.”
He maintained that Nigeria and every part thereof is constitutionally a secular state and warned that any attempt to surreptitiously make Kwara State an Islamic State, as have been erroneously mentioned in some quarters, would be unfortunate, insensitive and unlawful.
Amoo also called on the state’s House of Assembly to step in and ensured that peace should reign in the “State of Harmony.”
He, therefore, charged security agencies in the state to remain neutral and ensure that peace reign supreme without favour or nepotism.