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.
He said the diocese was not in agreement with the government over the use of hijab in mission schools.
The prelate, however, discouraged any form of violence.
He said, “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, said it was time to join hands to show the world that peaceful coexistence and tolerance was the way to go, rather than apportioning blame or accusing one another derogatorily.
The CAN’s Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, Rev. Fr. Ralph Ajewole, denied reports that Christians in the state had agreed to the use of hijab in government grant-aided missions schools, describing them as lies.
He said, “We insist that the Catholic Church rejects and condemns the use of hijab in our mission schools. No matter how hard anyone tries to change the narrative, we stand with CAN that the use of hijab is totally rejected in schools built and owned by Christians.”
The Catholic cleric also described as unpleasant government agents’ forceful breaking of schools’ gates under the watch of armed men.
Going down memory lane, Ajewole said the grant-aiding of schools began in 1974 under the then military governor of the state, Col. David Bamigboye, adding that it was never a complete takeover.
He expressed displeasure over the dilapidated state of facilities in government grant-aided schools, saying that the state government had not been doing much to care for the schools.
Ajewole therefore called on the government to hand off the grant-aiding of mission schools and return them to the original owners.
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