Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
The Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), in Osun State, Monday called on security operatives to advice the State Government accordingly on the implications of enforcing the wearing of Hijab in public schools by female Muslim students.
The group, in a communique issued at the end of the emergency meeting of the body held in Osogbo, stated that implementing the judgement will show the whole world that governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration is trying to disturb the peace that the state has been enjoying.
Reading the communique, the president, YOWICAN -OS, Nicholas Owoofe, noted that Justice Jide Falola’s judgement was a violation of religious rights of the original owners of Christian missionary schools as agreed upon when the schools were taken over by Oyo State government in 1975.
He also recalled that on November 30, 2011, the issue of hijab came up for discussion and leaders of the two religion agreed that only conventional uniforms would be allowed in public schools.
“We were however disturbed that a group later went to court and now they are saying the judgment must be implemented. Why would hijab become an issue at the moment when Christians and Muslims have been living happily together for years without crisis?
“In Justice Falola’s judgment, he ruled that wearing of Hijab is a right and a means to propagate Islam. We need to remind those behind this move that at the point of takeover of Christian-mission founded schools in 1975, agreement reached with them was that only administration of the schools would be taken over.
“Original owners of the schools were also assured that their philosophy, traditions and culture would not be tampered with. Why would all these be thrown away? We are not against using of hijab, but let whoever is interested in wearing hijab do so in Muslim-mission founded public schools”.
Owoofe however said that the group was not challenging the right of Muslim students to wear hijab for the propagation of Islam in public schools but that they should not wear it to Christian mission established schools.
He said, “We will like to emphasize that we are not challenging the right of Muslim students to wear hijab for the propagation of Islam in public schools.
“What we are saying is that this should not be extended to schools that are originally owned by Christian missions as contained in the Osun State Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) agreement of 2014.
“Should the State government decide to implement the judgement, the State YOWICAN will mobilize and instruct all our YOUTHS in different Blocs and schools to start wearing their Christian garments and vestments as part of their school uniform for propagation of our faith.”