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Church body calls for equal education in Northern Nigeria

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the north-eastern State of Yobe has appealed to the state government to introduce Christian religious studies in public schools.

Despite the constitutional provision for freedom of worship, the teaching of Christian religious knowledge is prohibited by local authorities in Yobe and some Northern states, it says.

Yobe State CAN Chairman Rev. Jibrin Joshua urged authorities to revisit the policy and to give their children ‘‘the privilege’’ of Christian religious education.

Nigeria’s education is often overseen by state authorities, not Federal Ministries. All 12 northern states adopted sharia law in the 2000s, prompting a growing intolerance, which has resulted in widespread discrimination against Christians in the majority Muslim states.

Christians are treated as second-class citizens, and are denied basic rights such as access to education or certain jobs, no matter their qualifications, noted a worker for Open Doors, a charity providing support to Christians facing persecution.

“In many states, the school curriculum has changed, and Islamic studies for all were introduced in Government schools. Radical imams preached a rigorous version of Islam, openly calling young people to rise and fight for jihad’’.

N. Nigeria has also seen a sudden increase in ‘‘madrassas’’ (schools which teach the Koran) and a sharp drop in attendance at “Western-education” schools (Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden”).

Rev. Joshua also called on government to return Christian run-schools, locally known as missionary schools, to their owners (with a full financial grant for their rehabilitation).

He also urged the government to address the non-issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the building of churches, and the broadcast of Christian religious activities on state-owned media.

Source: Daily Trust

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