Navy School Bans Students From Solat

File Photo; Nigeria Navy School

File Photo: Nigeria Navy School

Harrison Iyoha

File Photo: Nigeria Navy School
File Photo: Nigeria Navy School

Barely weeks after a court in Lagos upheld the ban of Hijab in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos, the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State has banned Muslim students from observing solat (prayers).

The affected prayers are solatul magrib and Ishai, which the school Commandant, Lieutenant Arukwe claims falls during the evening prep. Not only that, we were reliably told that the ban, which has been described as a violation of Muslims’ right to worship by the parents, has extended to other prayers (subh, zuhr and asri).

Some of the Muslim students, we learnt, are no longer praying since the Commandant issued the directive weeks ago.
According to one of the students who pleaded not to be named, “our Commandant has stopped us from praying in the school Mosque. She said our school is a military and not a missionary school. If she must allow us to pray, it’ll only be on Fridays, just as the Christians pray on Sundays. She said praying five times everyday affects the school activities.

“The school is over 20 years old and such a thing has never happened, until this woman came with her anti-Islam policy. The school built the mosque for us to worship at the appropriate time. The Directorate of Islamic Affairs recognises mosque, that’s why they appointed an Imam for us.”

When contacted an official of the school who also pleaded not to be quoted because he was not authorised to speak to the media said: “Nobody was been banned from praying in the mosque. They pray four times a day and their chaplain (Imam) said that the fifth one, which falls within the time of prep, is just an admonition and not compulsory. That’s why the students were stopped from attending admonition since it affects the activities of the school slated for that period.”

Another official of the school told our reporter on phone that the matter has been resolved.

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“We are even the ones pushing them to go and pray because we believe nobody can achieve anything in this life without backing it with prayers.

“We’ve invited the Imam, and we’ve agreed to shift the last prayer (ishai) time till after prep, which ends by 9:30pm. By then, they can observe their prayers.”

Meanwhile, some aggrieved parents dismissed the claim that the matter has been resolved, saying it’s far from the truth. In a chat with P.M.NEWS Campus Square, a parent lamented: “This is wickedness! What kind of directive is that? My son has not prayed for five days, in a school that has a big mosque.

If she claims that the night prayers clash with prep times, what about morning and afternoon prayers? This is a violation of our right, and the Directorate of Naval Education must hear about it.”

Another parent told our reporter that “Everybody knows that Muslims pray five times a day, even Christians too are aware. Why would the Imam tell her that solatul ishai is not compulsory? Obviously, she’s lying. The truth is, she ordered the ban because it falls within the time of prep.”

The Secondary School was founded in 1990, and it is a full boarding school for boys only.

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