The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Ilorin Diocese has rejected and condemned the use of hijab in Catholic Mission Schools. The Council made their stance known in a statement made available to The Catholic Herald Weekly, signed by Pharm. Sola Akolade, Ilorin Diocesan Catholic Laity President Akolade denounced the stories making headlines in some dailies that the Christian Community in Ilorin has accepted government’s decision to allow the use of hijab in Christian mission schools. He said: “We have watched with kin interest the noise, propaganda and untrue stories making the headlines in some of the dailies and other news media that the Christian Community in Ilorin have accepted the government decision to allow the use of hijab in grant-aided Christian mission schools. “Those are handiworks of the Moslem fanatics in Ilorin who are overtly supported by the state government, led by Mallam Abdulraman AbdulRasaq, the Executive Governor of Kwara Stat,e as evident in some of the publications credited to the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the state governor, Rafiu Ajakaiye.
He said: “In short, we considered such blatant lie as an insult, which is malicious and unacceptable to the entire Christian community in the state. Poignantly, we the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Ilorin Diocese reject and condemn in its entirety the use of hijab in our mission schools.” The Laity President said that the schools under reference are the Church’s heritage, and they (Catholics) will do everything possible, even taking legal steps to protect it. “These said schools do not belong to the government; therefore, government or any religious organization will (and can) not dictate to us the mode of dressing or whatsoever that should be obtainable in our schools”, he said. According to Akolade, the Catholic Laity Council joins its voice with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), kwara state chapter, in advising the Kwara State Government to listen to the voice of reasoning, and adhere to the rule of law.
The council also advised the government to check citizens from making inflammatory statements that are divisive and inimical to the harmonious coexistence of the people in the renowned, peaceful state of Kwara. The State Government was also advised to reverse the decision on the use of hijab in mission schools, and to return the schools back to the original owners without delay. The council also asked the State Government to provide the document purportedly signed by former Military Governor of Kwara State, Col. David Bamgboye of blessed memory for the “outright take-over of mission schools” in the year 1974. “By government tradition, there should be a gazette for such a vital and historic action”, Akolade said.
The council further advised the Kwara State Government to caution Moslem youths to stop molesting Christians in the state. “The government should caution the rampaging and bloodletting Moslem youths and some unguided fanatics among them, to henceforth stop the molestation of the Christians and the destruction of properties because the issue at stake is between the State Government and the Christians, not with the Moslems”, the Laity President said. While reiterating its position on the use of hijab in mission schools, the Laity Council enjoined the government of Kwara State to toe the path of peace, as well as promote mutual co-existence of the people of the state. “Once again, we want to clearly and pointedly reiterate our position that we the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria Ilorin, strongly oppose and reject the use of hijab in our mission schools,” Akolade said