The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lagos State chapter, has expressed displeasure on Appeal Court ruling on hijab and I understand where they are coming from. However, Secretary of the association, Rev. Israel Akinadewo made two disappointing statements.
“Some of these public schools are missionary schools, bearing Christian names, hence any implementation of this judgment is tantamount to Islamising the state of excellence.”
Well, how do I remind him that Lagos State Government under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had returned missionary schools to ‘original owners’ after developing it with taxpayers’ money for over two decades? One of his few ‘sins’. Needless, to say some of the schools are now the shadow of its former selves. Though, Lagos NUT had confirmed in 2015 that the return of schools to former owners is retrogressive yet the focus here is that no missionary school is with the Lagos State Government again. So stay calm, the ruling does not affect your churches call schools.
“Lagos State is a cosmopolitan state, in which the development and peace, being witnessed over the years, have been major because of the good relationship between Christian and Muslim leadership and their cooperation with successive governments,” he said. Let me assure you and your organisation that the implementation of the policy will not affect the good relationship between us in Lagos. Christians in Lagos have Hijab wear women in their family, Muslim students with Hijab have Christian friends in their tutorial centre and community yet we all live in peace. This policy is just about replicating what is obtainable in our societies.
However, the reaction of CAN in Osun state escalated the issue, but I have strong feeling that CAN in Lagos would rise above the opposition politics being played by their counterpart in Osun and respect the right of the Muslim girl as enshrined in the constitution of the multi-religious country call Nigeria.
The Hijab judgement is not about religion or Islamisation of Lagos, it is victory for the rule of law and freedom to practise one’s religion without fear and intimidation by overzealous Principals and teachers.