By Oluwafemi Dosu
A notable Filmmaker and Executive of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN in Kwara State, Reverend Yemi Adepoju has stated that Kwara State Government should build more public schools for anyone who want to wear Hijab rather than enforcing hijab on both Missionary Schhols and Government Schools.
This he stated during an Exclusive Interview with Gospel Film News yesterday while reacting to crisis that ensued between Christians and Muslims in the state as a result of Government enforcing hijab wearing by female students in all public schools in Kwara State.
Adepoju noted that the crisis that ensued in Kwara State few days ago was a result of the government’s stand that Muslims can use hijab in all public schools (Government Schools in Kwara) which CAN have no problem with, but to join the grant-aided schools with the public schools in which hijaab is allowed is what CAN stand against.
According to him, the grant-aided schools are schools established by different churches but partially released to the government for the use of the public in the early 1970s, adding that in releasing the schools, there are some agreements reached the part of which is the control of these schools by the churches that established them, the only contribution of the government to the grant-aided schools is in the payment of salary of the staff, the infrastructural development of these schools was left in the hands of the Churches, therefore, it is wrong for the government to lump the grant-aided schools with the public schools.
He added that most of these schools are within the premises of the parent churches, it will be absurd to see people in hijaab within the premises of the church, saying the schools have established uniforms which the girls cover their head with berets, and this has been in use for over 40years, why the sudden change at this time.
“There are other public schools that those that want to wear hijaab can go to, they should take to this option. These are some of the stands of CAN on this decision of the government. The case on this is currently at Supreme Court, why is the government deciding on a case that is in court?” he questioned.
When asked if the religious crisis would have any effect on gospel Filmmakers in the state, Adepoju revealed that nothing good can be achieved in wartime or when there is tension in the state, so, if the situation continues like this without a solution, it will surely affect gospel filmmakers because it will limit the areas Filmmakers can shoot films in the state which is already happening even before the crisis. “God is our security but in this type of situation, we will have to be more security conscious,” he added.
Adepoju told Gospel Film News that the only thing the government can do to bring a lasting solution is to release all the grant-aided schools back to the original owner and let them be run with the original vision for their establishment and the government should build more public schools for anyone that want to wear a hijab to attend.
He stressed that the government should also raise the standard of the existing public schools because one of the reasons why there is contention on the grant aide schools is the high level of academic performance in the schools, which made many parents especially those that can’t afford private schools to rush in enlisting their children in them, especially among the Muslims parents.