By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, has dragged the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and the Federal Ministry of Education before the Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged removal of Christian Religious Studies, CRS, from the academic curriculum of studies for Nigerian schools.
The group, in an Originating Summons it filed pursuant to section 6 and 10 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, is praying the court to determine whether or not the removal of CRS as a separate subject from the academic curriculum of studies for Nigerian schools amounts to breach of rights of Christian children/students to freely acquire sound Christian education in line with the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of conscience and religion and belief.
“Whether or not the removal of CRS as a separate subject from the academic curriculum of studies for Nigerian schools is an act capable to cause religious and ethnic conflict in Nigeria.
“Whether or not the new education curriculum which introduced Islamic Arabic Studies and French Studies as two optional subjects and mandating that one of the subjects must be taken by every student, does not amount to indirect, systematic and clandestine compulsion on Christian students to take up Islamic Studies in the event of non-availability of a French teacher, contrary to their religious belief and therefore tantamount to systematic Islamization of Nigeria in view of section 10 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Whether or not the Honourable Minister of Education has the power to remove CRS as independent academic subject in Nigerian schools.
As well as, “Whether or not the inclusion of Islamic Religious Knowledge as a separate subject of study in the new education curriculum without corresponding availability of Christian Religious Knowledge, amounts to systematic denial of Christian students the rights to acquire sound Christian Education and good moral values as guaranteed in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Upon determination of the questions, the plaintiff is urging the court to among other things; declare that the removal of CRS as a separate subject from the academic curriculum of studies for Nigerian schools is an act capable of causing religious and ethnic conflict in the country.
Likewise, a declaration that the Minister of Education lacked the power to remove CRS as an independent academic study in Nigerian schools.
The plaintiff wants, “An order of the court setting aside the controversial and ill-conceived education curriculum that deliberately excluded CRS as a separate course of study in Nigerian schools”.
And “an order of court perpetually restricting the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Minister of Education and Federal Ministry of Education), from illegally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally altering, reviewing, amending, varying or in any manner, changing Nigerian primary, secondary or tertiary education curriculum in a manner that will exclude, expunge, erase, remove or in any manner, alter Christian Religious Studies”.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was equally cited as the 4th defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/570/2017.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for hearing of the suit which is yet to be assigned to any judge.
It will be recalled that the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, had condemned the new secondary school curriculum introduced by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).
CAN insisted that CRK was removed from schools’ curriculum, even as it asked the Presidency to direct the Ministry of Education to publish details of the new curriculum on its website “so everyone can see what it contains”.
However, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, refuted CAN’s claim, saying CRK and IRK are compulsory subjects for Christian and Muslim students respectively.