The Baptist Conference and Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) have disagreed with the decision taken by Kwara State Government to allow female students of the state’s public schools to wear the hijab.
The two bodies at separate press conferences in Ilorin, the state capital, on Friday said they were not consulted before the decisions were taken, insisting that they would resist the wearing of the religious veil in their schools by all legitimate means.
Both bodies stated that the state government was ill-advised in approving blanket wearing of the veil by female students in grant-aided mission schools in the state.
They also demanded that their schools be returned to them immediately.
Reverend Victor Dada, President of the Kwara chapter of the Baptist Conference, said the Baptist church had no fewer than 38 schools across the state.
He said: “The state government was ill-advised in taking that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the highest court in the land— Supreme Court.
“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.
“By this move, the state government is saying the Moslems purported rights are superior to that of the Christians.
“What we are saying is that no one, not the Kwara State government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools.
“We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.
“Baptist family waits for further instructions. In view of the foregoing, we request the return of all our schools back to us without further delay.”
Similarly, Reverend John Owoeye, Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, said the move by the state to enforce the wearing of hijab in Christian mission schools sponsored by the state will not be tolerated.
He said: “We demand the return of our schools to us in earnest.
“Similarly, we want government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated.
“For us, it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria.
“Moreover, we are saying that we refuse the enforcement of hijab on our pupils and students by the state government.
“Our schools are church heritage and we shall use every licit means to protect it. We promise to defend our faith and property with the whole of our strength and might.”
The controversy started when the state last week gave the approval that female students should start wearing hijab in schools, including mission schools.