Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has given a directive that henceforth no public or private primary and secondary school in the state should hold morning or afternoon prayers.
The governor also directed that all teachers with effect from next year must be in suits during official hours. A letter signed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Education, Mrs Anne O. Odey, dated October 21, said the suspension of prayers will subsist till further notice.
The directive which was sent to all zonal heads in the state said, “the ministry hereby directs all public and private primary and secondary schools across the state to suspend all assemblies (morning and afternoon) till further notice.”
All school heads were directed to comply strictly or risk sanctions.
In a reaction, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) signed by Archbishop J. E. Ukpo and Apostle Iwara Oleh Obeten, state chairman and secretary respectively, said such directive was completely unacceptable. CAN said the directive will negatively affect the upbringing of children and urged the state government to immediately withdraw same.
Some parents in an interview with NewsWireNGR condemns the governors decisions to shut down an age long tradition insisting that God protects the state and the people with the prayers from the children especially. Cross River is a Predominantly Christian State with most citizens Catholics and the schools owned by missionaries did introduced morning and lent prayers for students.
“There’s been tension and confusion over such a directive, if the Governor fails to reverse it, it might cost him dearly, our state, Cross River State has gone this far even in terms of enjoying peace as a result of God’s protection over our lives” says a parent, Clement Egbe.