There was tension in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Wednesday, when some Christians, ordered by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), besieged some schools following a court judgement and the State’s order that approve the use Hijab. For the sake of education, enlightenment and record purposes, we are issuing the following statements;
– Questions have been asked from the outset of the Hijab crisis; Why should Muslim children go to MISSIONARY schools…Why should the Kwara State Government impose Hijab on a school that has its own rules…If the schools are Public Schools, why have ‘Christian names’?, etc.
– While the Kwara State Government already explained the status of these schools, it is important that we make it clearer and more elaborate for the sake of those who sincerely need answers.
– “Until the middle of the 20th Century, all the governments of the various regions in Nigeria did was to give grants‐in‐aid to the voluntary agencies that operated approved schools while a few “government schools” were established in a few strategic towns. After the Nigeria‐Biafra civil war in 1970, some State governments took over the complete ownership and control of all educational institutions in their areas of jurisdiction.” (continued in the next line)
– “The educational policies and practices of the voluntary agencies were condemned as being foreign‐oriented, irrelevant to Nigeria’s needs, and divisive in the sense that denominational schools encouraged religious and tribal bigotry and unhealthy rivalry among the citizens.” (Reference: NWAGWU, N.A. (1979), “THE STATE TAKE‐OVER OF SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA: A CONTROVERSY”, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 75-86 – read more)
– The schools that were taken over were not just Christian schools. In fact, Yakubu Gowon, a Christian, was, head of state which debunks anti-Christian propaganda.
– Alh. A. G. F. AbdulRazaq SAN., the first northern lawyer in Nigeria, single-handedly bought land, built structures, and established a school in his neighborhood which he named ILORIN COLLEGE, ILORIN in 1967. The Kwara State Government later took over the school and changed the name to Government High School, Adeta, Ilorin. It was the same period they took over Christian & Muslim Missionary Schools in Kwara State. The then-Government was magnanimous in leaving the original names of missionary schools out of respect for their founders. AGF Abdulrasaq, who coincidentally is the father of the present Governor, a devote Muslim, never protested against it, he left everything to the Government.
– The essence of digging the records is to reiterate that these schools are PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Until the government returns these schools to their owners, public schools are not Muslim or Christian schools, the staff are paid, the structures are maintained with taxpayers’ money. Therefore, any child who is a citizen of Nigeria has the right to attend any of the schools within the limit of the rights granted by the constitution of the state, and of the rules of the school that do not contravene their rights protected by the constitution without fear or worry.
– The general public should understand what happened in Ilorin on Wednesday was not between two groups, rather, it was the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kwara State Chapter against reason, logic, and the state. If a court judgement and State order can be disrespected by those who claim to be tolerant and peaceful, we need to ask, “Is it a matter of rights or resentment against the Muslims?!”.
– The KnowIslam Project will never support Muslims going to schools owned and maintain by Deeper Life Church, RCCG, or CAC to demand for rights. What CAN should do is to go to the court of law to reclaim the schools. Then, it would not be just them, many schools would be returned as well to their respective owners where pensions of staff would have to be paid by them.
– We call on CAN, Kwara State Chapter, to embrace peace. Also, we implore the youths in Ilorin not to volunteer themselves as tools of destruction in the hands of myopic, intolerant and violence-loving fellows.
– The Kwara State Government should consider the actions of CAN as a disrespect of the laws of the land. Tolerating the desecration of the court ruling and State order could bread anarchy and rob Kwara State of its ‘harmony’.
– In 2021, we should understand that what someone wears on her head (modest to say), does not in any way disturb one who chooses not to. The Hijab is allowed in schools and workplaces in the UK and the US which we call ‘Saner Climes’. Muslims are not stupid or backward for campaigning for the approval of the Hijab, the burden of tolerance and civilization is on those who believe a piece of clothing on the head is a threat to their beliefs or rights.
– To the world,
As usual, CAN, like other entities, keeps pressing the Muslims’ button. It is only when we react that they capitalize on our actions and blame them on our religion.
– Muslims believe and love Jesus. With CAN’s attitude, it seems Jesus (of the Church) only loves us only when our rights are not involved. Thus, Hijab is allowed on Crusade grounds but not in schools, the same way Jesus used to love our Grandparents in schools but not their names, therefore, having to change their names before they were allowed to have access to education.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman
The KnowIslam Project
Abdulganiy Saad contributed to this Press Release.