CAN opposes anti-religious discrimination bill

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) opposed a bill before the National Assembly seeking to end religious discrimination in public and private sectors.

It also called on the National Assembly to suspend the bill before the House of Representatives that might put an end to hijab discrimination in the country, describing it as “ill-timed and uncalled for.”

This is amidst various reports of such discrimination in recent times.

A 2020 report by the Hijab Rights Initiative indicates that 41% of such discrimination occur in schools and academic institutions.

Recall that the bill titled, ‘Religious discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021,’ is seeking to provide a mechanism for enforcing certain provisions of the constitution and other international laws that recognise the right of female to adorn hijab in both public and private establishments in Nigeria.

But CAN in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, said its problem was not the wearing of hijab but the legislation of the wearing of it in private schools, especially schools whose proprietors have different culture wearing of hijab.

The statement reads partly, “We wonder what the sponsors of the Bill seek to gain from it other than to compound the security problem and the wearing of hijab in public and Christian schools.

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“To what extent does this controversial bill seek to promote peace, order and good governance? Has dress code become part of the Exclusive Legislative List?

“While the citizens are expecting the National Assembly to make laws that will address the lopsided appointments, insecurity, unemployment and economic predicament, our lawmakers are interested in making laws that seek to promote one religion. This is totally unacceptable in a country with multiple religions.”

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