The Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday called on the Federal Government and the Inspector-General of Police to intervene in the violence in Kwara State over the hijab policy.
CAN which expressed the views in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, advised Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to give peace chance.
Students in some Mission schools in the state had clashed over the wearing of hijab as part of their schools’ uniforms.
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But Daramola said, “We learnt that the state government has ordered the reopening of the closed schools without resolving the crisis and consequently, churches and mission schools are being vandalised with impunity by the hoodlums banking on the state government’s support in the pretext of enforcing the policy.
“Some innocent Christians are being violently abused and attacked under the watch of the governor who is playing ostrich. The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, should be held responsible if the matter degenerates because it was his pronouncement on the issue of hijab wearing in violation of the court directive on the matter to maintain status quo until the matter is finally resolved by the court that led to this trouble.
“It is disheartening and unfortunate that a government that was installed democratically will become insensitive to the plight and the yearning of the people as if the governor was voted into the office primarily to protect his own religion. This is unfair, ungodly and reprehensible.
“There are public schools and schools that belong to some Islamic organisations where those who wanted to be wearing hijab can be attending without causing the ongoing needless crisis rocking the state.
“CAN once again calls on Governor Abdulrazaq to give peace a chance in the state by ordering his hoodlums to stop attacking mission schools and churches in Kwara State before the situation degenerates into an unprecedented religious crisis.
“We also call on the Federal Government and the Inspector-General of Police to ask the Kwara State Government to respect the rule of law in order to avoid a chaotic situation.”
Meanwhile, the Kwara State Baptist Conference on Wednesday gave an insight into the attack on Christians at First Baptist Church in Surulere, Ilorin by Muslim fundamentalists, saying they mobilised themselves and touts in large numbers to carry out the attack.
The President, Kwara Baptist Conference, Dr. Victor Dada, said these in a statement obtained by journalists in Abuja titled, ‘Kwara Hijab crisis in Mission Schools Update’.
He said, “Despite the case in the Supreme Court and the stay of execution obtained by proprietors of mission school, the government announced the use of Hijab and reopening of the schools today (Wednesday).
“Christians, who were today at First Baptist Church Surulere, Ilorin on peaceful demonstration with drums and trumpets, came under serious attack by Muslim fundamentalists who mobilised themselves and touts in large number to attack us.
“They overpowered the police, forcefully removed the gate and sign board of the school and started stoning us for over one hour. Only the gallant resistance of members and eventual security reinforcement saved the church from being burnt.
“More than 20 people (including four pastors) were wounded with three hospitalised. The fundamentalist in the presence of security officials vehemently attempted to burn the church and when repelled, threatened to burn the church either during the day or at night.
“They threw petrol fire to the church gate and vandalised the auditorium. They also went ahead to vandalise The Apostolic Church, Eruda Ilorin, a church without any grant-school.
“We shall not allow hijab in our schools; we will defend our faith and defend our inheritance. We demand that the government should return back our schools.”
Spokesman for the Kwara state Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the situation had been brought under control.
He appealed to people to maintain peace and go about their normal business.
The affected schools in the hijab controversy include C&S College, Sabo Oke; St. Anthony College, Offa Road; ECWA School, Oja Iya; Baptist Secondary School, Surulere, and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.
Others are CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam road; St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo Oke; St. John School, Maraba; St. Williams Secondary School, Ibrahim Taiwo Isale, and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.
Credit: The PUNCH