Religious leaders in Nigeria have called for Christian students to boycott compulsory Arabic classes introduced by the government.
Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church and other religious leaders claim the compulsory lesson is an attempt to convert secondary pupils to Islam.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor W.F. Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church – who are all members of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) – stated the government has no right to force students to study the language.
Reverend Felix Omobude, national president of PFN said: “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 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.”
The acting Executive Secretary of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, Kate Nwufo, denied claims that Christian Religious Studies had been removed from the curriculum.
She told Premium Times: “We have developed a curriculum on religion and national values to expose pupils to see relationship between moral values – which entails religion, social values – and civic values.”
The Christian Association of Nigeria – the country’s largest Christian body – has called on the government to publish full details of the new curriculum.