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Catholic Rejects, Condemns Forceful Use of Hijab In Mission Schools In Ilorin

The Catholic Bishop of Ilorin Diocese, Most Rev. Paul Olawoore has condemned the government’s use of force to take control of Mission schools in Kwara State even as he emphatically said: “we are not in agreement with the government over the use of hijab in our schools.”

The prelate discouraged any form of violence, saying “I don’t want any confrontation that will inflict pain or any kind of injury on anybody. Neither do I wish that anyone should lose his or her life on this issue.”

Bishop Olawoore, who is also the Chairman of the Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said, it is time to join hands to show the world that peaceful coexistence and tolerance is the way to go, rather than apportioning blame or accusing one another derogatorily.

Debunking the message going round that “Christians have agreed to the use of Hijab in Government Grant-aided Missions Schools,” Rev. Fr. Ralph Ajewole, who is the CAN’s Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, described it as “Lies from the pit of hell.”

Fr. Ralph Ajewole said: “We insist that the Catholic Church rejects and condemns the use of Hijab in our Mission Schools. No matter how hard anyone try to change the narratives, we stand with CAN that use of Hijab is totally rejected in schools built and owned by Christians.”

The Catholic clergy, who is equally a broadcaster, captioned the message as “Blatant Lies,” also described the conduct as unpleasant in which government agents forcefully broke the schools’ gates under the watch of armed men.

He said, the Church is not interested in violence of any type; hence, it jettisoned it but would protect and defend their heritage.

Going down memory lane, Fr. Ajewole said, the grant-aiding of schools began in 1974 under the then Military Governor of the state, Col David Bamigboye but it was never a complete takeover.

He expressed displeasure over dilapidated state of facilities in government grant-aided schools, saying that the state government has not been doing much to care for these schools.

He therefore called on government to hands off the grant-aiding of Mission schools and return them back to the original owners.

He explained further that CAN proceeded to the Court to prevent the state government from forcefully taking over the schools so as to effect the plan of changing the schools’ names.

According to him, the High Court urged the parties to embrace dialogue, CAN proceeded to the Court of Appeal where the prayer was distorted and issue of Hijab was brought in as an act of ibaadah (as _Obiter Dictum_ ).

Regrettably, he said, it was based on _obiter dictum,_ that the Governor declared the approval of the use of Hijab in Christian Missions schools.

In chat with Rev. Fr. Christopher Atoyebi, who is the Director, Diocesan Communication Commission, he added that Catholic Church, in line with other Churches, do not agree to the use of hijab in Mission schools under any circumstances, thereby demanding that the government return them for effective management.

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