Following reports that the Cross River State Government has banned assembly prayers or devotion in Primary and Secondary schools in the state, the government has issued a statement to that effect.
The statement which was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr Tina Banku Agbor, said that a circular issued by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Mrs Anne O. Odey, suspending assemblies in schools should be disregarded.
“The circular issued by the Permanent Secretary was neither at the instance of the State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade nor with his knowledge.
“The Permanent Secretary claims to have issued the circular based on the directive of the State Commissioner of Police who was purportedly acting at the instance of the Inspector-General of Police, over security concerns.
”We wish to state categorically that it is not the policy of this administration to infringe on the freedom of worship of Cross Riverians and all who reside in the state,” the statement concluded.
However, Cross River State Governor, Mr. Ben Ayade, has directed the setting up of a 3-man panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the circular by the Permanent Secretary without recourse to higher authorities and recommend appropriate sanctions for this breach of protocol.
The panel is to be chaired by the Deputy Governor with the Secretary to the State Government as the Secretary.
More ao, the statement while advising schools in the State to disregard the circular from the Permanent Secretary, said she acted on her own.