SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, (THEWILL) – Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the scrapping of Christian Religious Knowledge from secondary school curriculum by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, as a sinister plot to instigate inter-religious warfare in Nigeria.
The rights group also identified the Education minister as an agent of destabilization of inter-religious harmony owing to his arbitrary appointment of Muslims to head the strategic Education agencies such as the National University Commission, NUC; Joint Admission and Matriculation board, JAMB; Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, amongst others.
In a statement issued on Monday by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said, “We view this primordial inclination to favour his own religious orientation in the framing and implementation of national educational policies even when section 10 of the constitution of Nigeria has absolutely banned the elevation of any religion as state religion.
“We are aware of the very destabilizing plots to foist the study of Islamic religious study as compulsory subject in public secondary school even when the constitution in section 38 (1) and (2) provides that on no occasion will a strange religious faith be taught to students/pupils of different religious persuasions.
“Specifically section 38 (1) & (2) averred thus: (1) ‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, practice and observance”.
It reminded the Presidency that subsection (2) of section 38 of the Constitution affirmed that: “No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian”.
HURIWA said also that: “We have it on good authority that the current education minister has arbitrarily ordered that in the current curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in a civic education, adding that Islamic studies had however been made a compulsory alternative subject to French for students in sections of the curriculum”.
The group then sought the following from the Federal Government, “We demand the restoration of both Islamic religious study and Christian religious knowledge as subjects in public school just as we hereby ask that an alternative subject to be called African traditional religious study to be introduced to balance the religious equation in Nigeria.
“We totally condemn this attempt by the education Minister to promote his own religion using public office and resources even when the Nigerian constitution frowns against such extralegal inclination. We warn that this attitude of Mallam Adamu Adamu can only promote religious disharmony and could precipitate religious war. We call for the observance of Federal character principle in the appointments of key officials in the Education ministry.”