In times like this when our dear country Nigeria is disturbed from all corners with one anomaly or the other ranging from insecurity, dare devil kidnappings, killings, ethnic clashes, economic downturn just to mention a few which have been upsetting the peace and general living conditions in the geographical space which is already more than enough problems for the country to handle at this point in time. It is therefore empirically destructive to add religious segregation and all the ills it brings to the already troubled country.
The Nigeria Christian Youths Political Platform (NICHYPP) has observed the unfolding incident of hijab imposition on schools in Kwara State especially in Christian Missions Grant aided schools for years now and the climax which led to the resent shut down of 10 grants aided secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital, after Muslim female students insisted on using the head covering in the schools.
These schools are namely C&S College, ST. Anthony College, ECWA School, Surulere Baptist Secondary School, Bishop Smith Secondary School, CAC Secondary School, St. Barnabas Secondary School, St. John School, St. Williams Secondary School and St. James Secondary School which all happen to be missionary schools before the government takeover in the 1970’s and her still grant aided by the various Missionary groups.
In case the Kwara State Government isn’t aware, part of the agreement reached before the handing over of these schools to the Nigerian government was the government would continue the teaching of morals, physical and religious education, and encourage pupils to participate in the activities which would foster personal discipline and character training in the school. And this alone is enough to make the government in the past and our present day respect the background, history and moral as well as religious intentions of the setting up these schools by the various missionary groups.
The Nigeria Christian Youths Political Platform (NICHYPP) believes Nigeria has grown and is still growing, irrespective of the fact that the Kwara State government have bluntly refused to return the missionary established schools in their possession, a case which is still pending in court, some States in Nigeria have gone ahead to return Missionary Schools to the management of the instituting missionary groups as they are better managed in their possession as is presently evident in the deplorable state of most of these schools in various states.
We are insisting the good works and intentions of these schools be respected as Notable Nigerians are products of missionary schools and their very evident display of high morals, character building capacity, discipline and physical development is obvious in these great leaders.
It is in this light that the NICHYPP strongly condemns the use of hijab in Christian mission’s grants aided schools as it is grossly an obvious tool of religious profiling as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify Christian children and wards.
We stand bold to label imposing the use of hijab in these schools as religious extremism and outright highhandedness and abuse of power by a democratically elected government.
The group insists the Kwara State Government should learn from history and desist from religious favoritism, treat and respect the golden rule “Treat people how they ought to be treated” to avoid the civil unrest caused by out rightly upsetting the very foundations on which the Nigerian Educational Background is built.
The Founder of the Nigeria Christian Youths Political Platform (NICHYPP), GP. Mathew James Avabee (Mr Spreading) advised the Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRasaq led Kwara State Government to be as religious tolerant as the Governor Yahaya Bello led Government with laudable religious tolerance fueled by his believe in the reality of the fact that a geographical entity can only strive in religious and ethnic tolerance, respect and peaceful coexistence.
He also admonished him to set aside his religious preference in handling the affairs of the State as he was elected as the Governor of both the Muslims, Christians and all other religions altogether in the state and focus on pressing issues like the security of the state and improving the standard of living of Kwara indigenes just like his Neighboring Kogi state governor has done which has propelled him to be a National Star with various awards under his belt instead of disturbing the already troubled peace of the country with his abuse of power and religious segregation which falls short of the expected attitude of an Elected Governor towards National building.
“While Christians are out there celebrating and awarding a fellow Muslim governor like you as a friend of Christians for his tremendous contributions towards bridging the religious gap and insensitivity, you are busy building walls between two religions and enforcing derogatory laws” he said
Despite being Christians, the group stressed the obvious fact that Nigeria comprises of various religions and ethnic groups, it is out rightly wrong to impose one groups beliefs on the other.
You cannot force a Yoruba man to inculcate the customs and traditions of their Igbo brothers in his own home as you cannot force schools with years of Christian backgrounds to accept Islamic beliefs in their own domain GP Mathew James Avabee reiterated.
He further stressed the need for Christian mission grants aided schools to be handed-over to the owners or be allowed to inculcate and carry out practices suitable for them as most of these schools have churches within their premises and unnecessary trespass in form of intrusion may result to break down of law and order.
The NICHYPP insists the country believes and practices freedom of choices, if pupils and students feel the lawful practices of any institution whatsoever goes against their beliefs, they should attend other schools who are in line with their beliefs, after all no Christian is contending the use of hijabs in Muslim schools.
We are hereby calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Assembly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), (the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and all other religious bodies, civil rights organizations and societies, the United Nations and all concerned and well- meaning Nigerians to come out and speak against this act of division and call the Government of Kwara state to order and to desist from this unacceptable act of Religious profiling and oppression as the results will further tension our already frail garments of Unity.
The Nigeria Christian Youths Political Platform (NICHYPP) is a coalition of young, vibrant and politically inspired Christians with the aim of raising Godly Politicians who are tasked with being good ambassadors of Christ, exemplary and worthy citizens and politicians, true elements of change with a passion for redefining the Nigerian political space for the best “as the water cover the sea”. Members are referred to as Godly Politicians (GP).