The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has alleged that Christian proprietors of private universities often subject Muslim students to forceful conversion via compulsory attendance of church services and denial of personal identity by disallowing the use of hijab.
The MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, who made the allegation in a statement on Monday, called on the Nigerian Universities Commission, NUC, to take necessary steps to stop the alleged oppression.
He said: “Private universities owned by Christians in the country have become torture chambers for Muslim students. The Muslim students cannot form any association on the basis of their own faith in those schools.
“They have no spaces for their prayers. They are forced to attend the church on campus as attendance is marked by the authorities. Muslim students who fail to go to church are sanctioned. This smirks of religious apartheid. It is therefore unacceptable.
“It is noteworthy that such private universities do not bear Christian names. Therefore Muslim students have no foreknowledge that they are seeking admission into Christian-owned universities.
“They are deceived into applying, paying acceptance fees and the school fees proper without being told that the institutions are owned by Christians or that they would be run according to Christian teachings.”
Mr Akintola lamented that the situation is unfair, deceitful, fraudulent and non-transparent.
He said: “MURIC calls on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to intervene in this issue. Private universities should be true to the conditions of their approval by the Federal Government and their registration by the NUC. They should not be allowed to change the goal post after the game has started.
“They must be compelled to follow due process and to obey the rules of the land. No private university should make rules that will subject students to inhuman conditions. Forceful conversion by forcing Muslim students to attend church services is a gross violation of the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution.
“They get away with this pernicious, degrading and dehumanising practice by claiming that they are private institutions. But the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria makes the Nigerian Constitution the font et origo of all laws, rules, regulations, directives, memoranda, etc to the effect that no rule emanating from any other source shall override its provisions.”