The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has accused President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration of “marginalising Muslims in key appointments in Federal Government institutions,” as well as in educational institutions and schools.
The NSCIA made its position known through a communiqué of the expanded General Purpose Committee (GPC) meeting of the Council held last Wednesday in Abuja. The was signed by Muhammad K. Qasim, the acting Director of Publicity. Apart from being worried about the “disturbing trend of marginalising Muslims” in main posts in the FG, the Council is seriously concerned with “a systematic cleansing of Muslims from key positions of authority.” According to NSCIA, this practices are dangerous the nation “which should encourage harmony and unity based on equity, justice and respect for diversity and pluralism.”
The NSCIS also stated that admission into the major military institutions and recruitment into police and security agencies “do not show sensitivity to balance and social indices such as faith. Muslims who are qualified should be admitted and trained on a scale that shows respect for a multi-religious nation such as Nigeria,” reads the communiqué.
The Council also called to stop prohibiting Muslim female students and workers to wear hijab:
“The Constitution guarantees to every Nigerian the freedom of worship and religious practice. Appropriate Muslim dressing for women in all public engagements and outings is a mandatory requirement for Muslims. Governments and other institutions which deny Muslim females their right to dress appropriately such as wearing of hijab with uniforms are therefore in violation of the rights of the Nigerian Muslims.”
While noting that President has welcomed the recommendation of the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North that the Federal Government should set up mechanism for providing appropriate relief to all victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, the NSCIA urged Jonathan to speed up the actions towards establishing such a mechanism.
The council also described the National Educational Research and Development Council’s (NERDC’s) new curriculum from primary to secondary school as major failure by all governments and is unacceptable, since it has deprived young Nigerians of their rights to receive full and mandatory religious education. The Council stated that children must be availed full opportunities to receive religious instruction and training until at least the end of Senior Secondary School.
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