“When Umar Yar’Adua was President, Christian and Muslim leaders wrote, asking him to make Islamic and Christian Religious Knowledge core and compulsory subjects in schools. When Goodluck Jonathan took over, we presented a paper making the same demand which was approved, but the then Minister of Education refused to implement it for reasons best known to him.”
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar III, has given details of how both Christian and Muslim leaders wrote the Goodluck Jonathan administration to change the status of Christian and Islamic subjects in school curriculum.
The two subjects, previously optional, are now core for students of respective faiths.
Alhaji Abubakar spoke amid controversy that had trailed the decision, with Christian leaders including their retired Generals demanding a reversal of the policy.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the government of attempting to “Islamise” the country by bringing both subjects under a new subject called Religion and National Values.
The Christian Elders Forum, a group that also includes former military generals, backed the call on Thursday.
The government denies the allegation, saying it merely made Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge compulsory for Christian and Muslim students respectively.
Speaking on Friday at a National Symposium and Lauching of 2025 Vision by Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III, who is President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), urged the council to present Islam in its true nature to non-Muslims to enable them see what Islam is.
“Tell people what Islam is; tell them why they should be Muslims and what difference it could make to their lives,” he said.
He rejected suggestions that there were plans to Islamise the country.
“When Umar Yar’Adua was President, Christian and Muslim leaders wrote, asking him to make Islamic and Christian Religious Knowledge core and compulsory subjects in schools.
“When Goodluck Jonathan took over, we presented a paper making the same demand which was approved, but the then Minister of Education refused to implement it for reasons best known to him.
The sultan said he was surprised by claims that there was a grand plan to force Islam on non-Muslims.
“So, I wonder why a controversy suddenly surfaced over alleged attempts by Muslims to force Islam on Christians by compelling students to learn Islamic religion in schools,” he said.
The DEFENDER published on Saturday comments of a social media discourse where Muslims and Christians largely condemned the involvement of some retired Generals now separating themselves from other Nigerians to be able to join in the christian leaders’ demand for reversal of an attempt government had made to cleanse Nigeria of evils by making people learn virtues as taught by their respective religions from formative age.
If the position given by the Sultan is therefore correct, some Nigerians said, it is hoped that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), beneficiaries of Nigerian goodwill now just knowing themselves as retired christian Generals and others will admit that they owe Nigerian State an appology for deliberately involving themselves in heating up the polity over an issue as transparent as the process that led to making CRK and IRK compulsory for Christian and Muslim students, respectively, in the country.