Aregbesola’ School Reform Causes Religious & Cultural Row In Osun

The new education policy, intriduced by the incumbent governor of the Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has become a stumbling stone for local religiuos groups.

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The state government has started schools’ reclassification and restructuring, and the education institution are being merged in the process.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) strongly opposes the policy, alleging it would wipe away the heritage of the early missionaires.

Last week, the Osun Baptist Congress held a protest again the new policy, arguing it is not appropriate to merge “hijab-wearing students” with the students of the Baptist College, Iwo.

The Catholic Media Practitioners of Osun State, in a statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Adesida, said the transformation is “unaccpetable”.

“This is a blatant display of religious intolerance and lack of accommodation which cannot stand the test of time in a multi-religious society. This is an appropriate time and medium to debunk the age-long erroneous ownership claims on those schools that were acquired by missionaries from various host communities,” the statement reads.

“The Baptist High Schools in Iwo, Ede and Iree as well as the Methodist High School, Otan Ayegbaju; Gbongan\Odeomu Anglican Grammar School and St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, Ilobu, were all founded by their various Muslim-dominated communities but were fraudulently hijacked in the course of registration and search for teachers.

“We wish to draw the attention of the Baptist convention and other missionaries to the fact that the loss or obliteration of their heritage could not be rightly located in the education transformation policy of the present administration in Osun State.

“The issue of ownership of schools had been settled way back in the mid-seventies when the then Federal Government acquired all missionary schools, both Muslim and Christian-owned and compensated them for same.”

“We are particularly sad that schools like St. Charles Grammar School, Osogbo; and St. John Grammar School, Ile-Ife which were boys’ school now joined together with female schools,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Joint Muslims Action Forum, an umbrella body for all Islamic groups in the state, issued a statement on Sunday, condemning the protests. The group described the prevention as an act of “religious intolerance,” accusing local Christians of attempting to sabotage Aregbesola’s policy.

Aregbesola is a Muslim.

Who do you think is right in this situation? Are there any “happy medium” solutions?

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