Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, said on Tuesday that students found disobeying school rules in the state risk expulsion.
He gave the warning while commissioning the ultra-modern St Michael’s RCM Government Middle School, Ibokun.
His statement came after the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state made good its threat on Tuesday to have Christian students attend school in church robes should the state government implement the judgment approving the wearing of hijab by Muslim female students.
The students created scenes in two schools in the state as they appeared in church garments to schools and were not sent away.
Officials of CAN were also present at the schools to ensure the students were allowed in their robes to attend classes.
Mr. Aregbesola however said all those aggrieved with the recent court judgement over hijab should channel their grievances according to the rule of law and not result to self-help.
He denied interfering with the court judgement that allowed female Muslim students to wear hijab to school.
“The Judiciary is an independent arm of government, the decisions of which are not subject to any influence by other arms of government,” the governor said.
According to Mr. Aregbesola, there are other legal options open to any party who feels strongly about the judgement, adding that appeal is the best option in this situation.
“It is funny for some people to insinuate that government has a hand in the judgement,” he said. “The government is a democracy, not a theocracy. Any student found disobeying school rule and regulation risks expulsion from our schools.”
He said it was not the business of any government, through the schools, to lead a child in a particular religious direction.
He said it was the duty of parents and religious institutions to lead children in religious direction in private capacity, until they are grown enough to make a decision on religion.
“The government therefore cannot support or be seen to be supporting a particular religion,” he said.
“The government is a democracy, not a theocracy. I believe also that parents and society should complement the government in shaping the minds of the pupils to be receptive to knowledge and godly character formation; to be sensitive to the need of others, the plurality of our society and the imperative of mutual toleration.
“They should also be brought up to be team players, even when in a competitive environment.
” It amounts to subversion of the educational needs of a child for them to be drawn into and used for political purposes.”
On the mega school, the governor said the N164 million project was not a mere show of money, and that none of the ongoing projects would be abandoned.
He also denied that the funds used for the project were from the federal government.
The principal of the school, Titus Olawoyin, commended the governor for his achievement in education.
Mr. Olawoyin said through the erection of his school’s magnificent building, stakeholders in education in the state will forever remember Aregbesola’s administration.
He noted that teachers in the school would also be grateful to the Governor for the magnificent edifice he turned their school into.
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