The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has said that the Nigerian constitution protects the rights of Muslims to practice their faith according to the dictates of their religion.
Adamu speaking while delivering a keynote address at the 2022 World Hijab Day Public Lecture in Abuja, said the constitution guarantees freedom of religion for all citizens, adding that wearing of hijab by Muslim women is in line with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
The minister who was represented by a Deputy Director of Social Mobilisation, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Sidikat Shomope, however, called for dialogue on matters of religious differences, rather than resorting to violence.
Recall that on Thursday last week, there was the controversy over the use of hijab in schools that led to a clash in Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
It was alleged that some Muslim parents had protested against how their children have turned away from school for wearing hijab. The protest, unfortunately, turned violent with many persons injured during the fracas.
This prompted the Kwara State government to shut the school over the refusal of the management to allow female Muslim students to use hijab.
Adamu while justifying the wearing of hijab by Muslims to school, said: “This, by implication, means that all citizens are allowed to practice their religion according to the dictates of their faith, as long as no harm or inconvenience is caused to other people.
“However, there has been much controversy on this matter in our country, which has unfortunately gone down to the school level and generated needless violent clashes.
“I wish to take this opportunity to remind our fellow citizens that there is a lot we can gain by dialoguing on matters of religious differences, rather than resorting to violence.
“Our children will remain citizens of Nigeria, irrespective of their faith. They will live and interact in the world outside their schools, where no boundary exists between the religions,” he said.
Adamu at the occasion appealed to traditional, religious, and community leaders to use their offices to douse tension and ensure peace, harmony, and tolerance.
“I call on parents and our school teachers to ensure that in both words and actions, they present the best model to our children to emulate,” he said.
On his part, Ishaq Akintola, the guest lecturer at the event, said the hijab was a vehicle of unification, both nationally and internationally, adding that it helps Muslim women to identify themselves.
Akintola also said the hijab was a symbol of social justice, freedom and equal rights.
“Hijab is a key to morality. A hijab-wearing woman is 24 hours conscious of her responsibility. That a woman puts on her hijab is a sign of a responsible woman ready to build the nation,” Akintola said.
“When you discriminate against a single woman, you are discriminating against the entire nation.”
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