FG Should Leave Religious Studies Intact


There are indications that the Federal Government (FG) is planning to collapse Bible Knowledge (BK), Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Civil Education into a single subject.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warns the FG to leave both BK and IRK alone as separate subjects. The plan to marry them into a single subject with Civil Education is an ill wind that will blow no one any good.

Such a plan can only be the handiwork of confusionists and apostles of the misleading concept of secularism. The Federal Ministry of Education should therefore look before it leaps. It will be a disaster of monumental proportion to merge those subjects.

There is also a legal angle to the planned move. It contravenes both the letter and spirit of Section 38 (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates religious instruction in own religion in schools.

The sub-section states inter alia, “No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction …if such instruction …relates to a religion other than his own, or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian.”

We are therefore constrained to put it to the Federal Ministry of Education that its purported plan to merge BK, IRK and Civil Education into one subject is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. The plan should therefore be put in abeyance.

Authors of this sinister plan should tell us how any subject teacher can effectively handle BK, IRK and Civil Education together all at once and in a single class? What educational qualification would such a teacher have attained and from which university? This plan can only succeed in confusing our young ones.

Our policy makers love to build castles in the air. They also love to entangle the citizenry in the abyss of complicated conceptualization. Why not make things as simple as possible for everybody to understand? Why are we always changing from one policy to another like a camellion? We have lost count of the number of times the Federal Ministry of Education has changed the curriculum.

Yet such changes have not improved the levels of delivery, perspicacity and performance. A standard six certificate holder of the 50s is better than a university graduate of today. Some graduates cannot form simple sentences and you need to keep stress-relieving drugs by your side if you have to read materials authored by new ‘Jambites’.

By the way, what is the rationale behind the plan to merge BK, IRK and Civil Education at a time when moral standards are falling everywhere in the world? Why must we play ‘super bureaucrats’ with religious subjects when FG is waging a war against corruption?

From where will the citizens draw their spiritual strength if we have already destroyed the foundation of the citizens’ individual religions. Every religion has its special appeal and that appeal resides in its peculiarity. There will be nothing special left after a merger. Nothing. This proposed merger will be the last nail in the coffin of morality.

The current rush for science and technology must be pursued with caution. While we admit that both science and technology are crucial to human development, we call attention to the dangers inherent in full concentration on material development at the expense of balanced spiritual growth. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are bitter memoirs of misuse of technology. The 9/11 attack, the wars around the globe and the attendant humanitarian disaster are eloquent testimonies of the abuse of technology.

Both science and technology need some form of control and mankind can only find the effective control in religion. Science without religion is a wild, ferocious dog. It has the propensity to bite indiscriminately, including its own master.

It is true that we need science and technology, but the moral subjects are necessary as bulwark against misuse of scientific discoveries. Ditto for the rush to read accounting, banking and finance, law, etc. Why are huge sums of money always missing despite the existence of hundreds of accountants and auditors? Even self-confessed armed robbers escape justice if they have access to clever lawyers.

In conclusion, we advise the Federal Ministry of Education to put on hold its plan to collapse BK, IRK and Civil Education into one subject. If the FG educates Nigerians without a special place for religion, it will only succeed in producing clever devils.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
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