By Wale Akinola & Sam Eyoboka
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God; Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM); Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church; Rev. Felix Omobude and Pastor W.F. Kumuyi of Deeper Life Church, among others, have ordered Christian students across the country to boycott Arabic Studies amid reports that the subject was being imposed on them.
The top pastors spoke, last week, after a meeting in Lagos under the auspices of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).
Also present at the meeting were Rev. (Dr.) Mercy Ezekiel, the National Coordinator of Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM), Pastor Wale Oke and the General Overseer of the Thronegrace Mission, Pastor Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, who is also the National Secretary of the PFN.
They also called for immediate reversal of the revised Basic Education Curriculum, especially the collapse of Christian Religious Studies as part of an omnibus subject known as Religion and National Values, and maintained that Christian Religious Studies should stand on its own as a separate subject just as it has always been.
They criticised the move to impose Arabic Studies on every secondary school student in the country, stating that the Federal Government has no right to force any Nigerian student at any level to study Arabic Studies.
According to them, the proviso in the revised curriculum that every student must take either French or Arabic Studies compulsorily in a country where French teachers are scarce was an attempt to impose Arabic Studies on Christian students.
Articulating the position of the Fellowship, Omobude, who is also the PFN National President, Oyedepo, Okonkwo and Wale Oke urged Christian students in any part of the country to refuse to the forced against their wish to read courses that bear no relevance to their future development, stressing “we are aware of orchestrated plans to subtly use this policy as a means of forceful religious indoctrination and we maintain our stand against it.”
“Government has no right to force subjects on any any Nigerian child neither does it have the authority to drop Christian Religious Studies at the Senior Secondary School level while asking him/her to continue to read Islamic Studies which he/she cannot do at university level,” Oyedepo said, emphasising that by stopping Christian Religion Studies, CRS, automatically meant that it would not be embraced at the tertiary institutions.
Citing a case in Kwara State where a Christian female student was allegedly beaten and forced to take Arabic Studies against her wish, Omobude, expressed concern at the contention and controversy that have attended the revised Basic Education Curriculum, especially the unnecessary collapse of CRS as part of an omnibus subject known as Religion and National Values.