. Association of Veteran Christian Clerics.

As Elders in the sacred temple of service to humanity who can be said to have seen it all, we wish to call the attention of the  leadership of the apex interfaith body in the Country, the National Interreligious Council (NIREC) to recent  happenings in Kwara State which may snowball into National crises of unimaginable magnitude if it is not quickly curbed.

In our humble opinion, the insistence by Ilorin Muslims to enforce the wearing of Hijab in Christian Mission Schools in Kwara State against the subsisting policy of the State Government that allows for the Proprietors of Faith-based Schools to determine the mode of  dressing in their respective schools amounts to insatiable demand considered by us as outright provocation of Religious  Crises. 

It is pertinent to put it on record that both the past and present Governments of Kwara State (Military and Civilians inclusive) have done enough to recognise and respect the peculiarity that the Muslims of Kwara State and Ilorin in particular have always claimed Islam and Ilorin deserves in the polity without any complaint from the Christians; in the hope that it will allow them to imbibe and exhibit the spirit of live and let's live, 
even when we are aware that the special treatment they have always enjoyed amounts to outright favouritism.

The following instances will suffice to let them know that the time has come for them to allow reason to prevail in their quest to have everything of Government and also rob us of those things we labor to build by ourselves:

1. The State Government established and it is fully funding the Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies (CAILS). The certificate of the school is being recognised for further education particularly to study all branches of law in some Nigeria universities. The same certificate is recognised for job placement and even conversion to other spheres and cadres of duty post outside religion  in the Kwara State Civil service. The Christians of Kwara State have never made any issue out of this and we are not doing so now but how do you explain that favouritism is not playing out when certificates from our much more older and internationally accredited, reputable Christian Theological Colleges in the State (officially affiliated to first generation Nigeria Universities) are being discriminated against in Kwara State Civil service.

2. Establishment of Kwara State Arabic Education Board which provides for the standardization of Madrasat Schools (Ilekewu) where all Islamic Religious tenet are fully observed. The same Board under the Kwara State Ministry of Education now conduct Senior Entrance Examinations in Islamic Education to pursue higher education in secular schools. 

This peculiar treatment of Islamic brand of education is the reason the Muslims Pupils could still write exams in Islamic religious studies in the State at the time the Federal Ministry of Education excluded Religious Subjects (IRK and CRK) as stand alone subjects in the Basic Shool Education Curriculum. 

Recently the Kwara State Government awarded contracts for the renovation of about Thirty (30) Schools in the State and the list included five Islamic/Arabic schools and not a single Government grant aided Christian Mission School was considered good enough to benefit.  The Christian Proprietors noticed all these but decided not to make any issue out of them so as to continue to manage the fragile peace in the State.

From the foregoing, It amounts to restating the obvious if we say that all that is needed to be done to make the Muslims of Ilorin not to intrude into the territory of other faiths have been given to them. Therefore going into Christian Mission Schools to insist on use of Hijab and observe full Islamic practices is a trespass that the Christian Community are fully united to resist. 

It is therefore an urgent task on the part of Government and all security agencies to be alive to their duty to curb the insatiable agitation of Ilorin Muslims to dominate other faiths as if we are not running a secular constitution in Nigeria.

As Christian Elders, we hereby appeal to the leadership of NIREC, a body in which the Emir of Ilorin is a highly respected member to speak to the Muslim Stakeholders that are firing the embers of discord to cease from doing so. 

We should remember that if Elders create a conflict situation, it is the youth that will fight the battle. We all pray that our Children will bury us at good old age but if we fold our hands and allow the needless altercation to continue, a war may ensue where parents will now be the one to bury their children. May God forbid that in Kwara State in Jesus name.

In that  regard, Ilorin Muslims should put a stop to all forms of crazy demands such as the agitation that are capable of destabilising the State and by extension the Country. The nation cannot afford to add a full blown inter religious crises to the myriads of Security challenges we are being presently faced with.

God bless Kwara State! God bless Nigeria!
*Association of Veteran Christian Clerics, Kwara State Chapter.*

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