Against the directive of the Kwara State government on approval of Hijab for female Muslim students in public schools, the leadership of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has said that it will not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.
Recall that the Kwara State government late last month approved the right of the Muslim schoolgirls to wear the Hijab, and directed the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to come up with a uniform Hijab for all public/grantaided schools, which will be the accepted mode of head covering in schools.
“Any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear same in public/grant-aided schools,” the government said in a statement.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, the chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Reverend (Dr.) John Owoeye, said that ECWA schools were established by the Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.
The ECWA church leader, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said that since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total take-over of our schools by the government”.
Rev. Owoeye, who said that Christians are bonafide citizens of the state, added that “we have equal right under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
He argued that the government is aware that Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teachers are not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) is not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools. Meanwhile, Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has vehemently rejected the state government’s decision to legalise the use of head covers popularly known as Hijab among female Muslim students in Christian mission grant-aided schools across the state.
Kwara CAN made its position known in a communique signed by the state Secretary and Director for Legal and Publicity, Rev. Reuben Bitoye (JP) and PRO, Apostle Shina Iyemi (JP) respectively, hours after the State government made a pronouncement that all female Muslim students are free to use Hijab regardless of the school they attend.