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Leave hijab, face serious issues, Onaiyekan tells NASS

His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has advised members of the 9th National Assembly to busy themselves with finding lasting and sustainable solutions to the serious issues bedevilling the country, rather than concerning themselves with the wearing of hijab in schools. Reacting to a Bill on the floor of the House of Representatives calling for the institutionalization of hijab in the country, he said people’s rights and religious spirits should be respected. Recall that several bodies, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), have criticised the Bill, and urged the leadership of the National Assembly to suspend the Bill.

CAN had warned that legislating the wearing of hijab in private and mission schools would only lead to trouble which sponsors of the Bill might not be able to handle. Speaking to our correspondent on Friday in Abuja, His Eminence who expressed worry that the Bill if passed may compound the security problems in the country as a result of fanaticism, asked the lawmakers to only make laws that would promote peace and stability in the country. He said: “People can call for whatever they like but whatever you call for, you cannot impose things on people and they have to think of the right of others too “Hijab is good, but we are all entitled to our various opinions.

I agree that school uniforms should be good, decent, neat and tidy, but I do not see anything wrong with our uniforms in Nigeria, whether in mission schools or public schools. “The whole idea of introducing and discriminating a kind of element in school uniform is not helpful at all. “When it comes to Christian schools, nobody should impose it on people who have their own religious spirits in their schools, that is what is happening.”

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