KANO STATE GOVERNMENT
RE: NORTHERN CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN)
OPPOSE MUSLIM DRESS CODE FOR KANO STUDENTS
The attention of the Kano State Government has been drawn to news reports in several newspapers, specifically those of the Sunday Tribune of August 05, 2007 titled “Christian Elders Gang-up Against Sultan” and Sunday Vanguard of same date titled “Christian Elders Oppose Muslim Dress Code for Kano Students” where the Northern Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the state government of planning to announce a policy to force non-muslim female students to wear Hijab, among others.
Some excerpts of the statement credited to CAN are here reproduced.
“Northern (CAN) frowned at the directive which made it a must for students of all schools irrespective of cultural and religious inclination to wear the Islamic mode of dressing to school”. (Sunday Tribune, August 05, 2007).
“The right of a large segment of the population of the state was being infringed by those that had sworn to protect and defend those rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution where harmony and diversity are recognized and protected” (Sunday Vanguard, August 05, 2007).
The Kano State Government waited to see if the spokesman of Northern CAN were misquoted in the said publication and if so weather they would come-up with a retraction, but their silence confirms that the news is authentic hence we decided to come with this clarification.
It is sad that an organized body like CAN would base its official position on newspaper rumours and would proceed to issue a statement, indicting the state government without exhausting all avenues for official clarification.
The true position is that, a law has been in existence for long time in Kano State requiring all female muslim students in public schools to wear Hijab. While the Hijab is mandatory for female muslims, female non-muslims were directed to dress decently but not compelled to wear the Hijab.
Kano State Government has just decided to extend the policy already in practice in its public schools to private schools that all female muslim students must be allowed by the proprietors to wear Hijab, given the increasing number of muslim-students enrolled in such private institutions presently.
There is nowhere in Kano State where non-muslim female students are required by law to wear the Hijab. The Hijab is only for female-muslim students while non-muslim female students are required to dress decently.
Requesting students to dress decently is not exclusive to Kano State, even universities and other tertiary institutions, including those (located in non-muslim communities) as well as religious organizations now impose dress codes for their female students, emphasizing decency and self-respect.
We have it on good authority that in some southern State with a predominant Christian population now direct that female visitors to their Government Houses should dress properly or be turn back.
Northern CAN should have first tried to find-out exactly what the law said from relevant Kano State Government’s agencies or from the Kano State Branch of CAN which is better informed about some of these issues before rushing to criticize the state government.
Education is all about discipline and morality, and the purpose of sending our children and wards to schools will surely be defeated if we cannot instill into their young minds the discipline of decent dressing and general good conduct.
The Kano State Government is committed to instilling a morally right dress code among its students and therefore expects Northern CAN and indeed all well-meaning organizations to join hands to stamp-out immorality and indiscipline in our schools and society. Acting on rumour and cheap religious sentiments will not help us in our struggle for a united Nigeria.
SULE YA’U SULE
Director of Press and Public Relations
to the Executive Governor, Kano
Rajab 27, 1428AH / August 10, 2007