The International School Ibadan, a secondary school owned and privately run by the University of Ibadan has been shut following a crisis brewing in the school over the insistence on hijab wearing by some parents.
Some group of parents under the aegis of International School Ibadan Muslim Parents’ Forum had written a protest letter to the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe, demanding that their female wards be allowed to wear hijab in the school.
They accused the principal of banning their children from dressing according to the dictates of their religion.
Academic activities at the school were paralysed yesterday morning when some students appeared in hijab to the shock and disapproval of the school management.
The school management reportedly put the classrooms under lock, insisting that the dress code of the school was being violated.
But some parents whose children appeared in hijab stated that the school was informed of the decision that henceforth, their children would wear hijab to school. They cited the letter written to the school over the weekend.
But Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Abideen Aderinto, who doubles as the Chairman Court of Governors of the school, has stated that the school will not accept the approach being used by the parents.
Aderinto stressed that the school is a private school and not run by government funds.
National Insight quoted him as saying: “I am the Chairman of the court of Governors and I am a proud Muslim. ISI is a private school. UI does not fund it. It is funded by the fees collected. It is unfortunate that this is coming up now. Even the Parents Teacher Association is not aware of the idea by this group. Indeed some other Muslim parents expressed shock when they heard about this forum.
Since its establishment in 1963, the school has not experienced any religious crisis and we would want to guide against it. “The Muslim and Christian students have a place to worship in the school. Whoever is desired to change the rules should go through the process. The teachers do not feel safe and so could not have taught anybody because it is a strange development. I appeal to these people to stop their action and allow peace to reign in the school. It is even strange that this matter was not discussed at the Parents Teachers Association at all headed by another Muslim and lawyer, Kazeem Olaniyan”
The parents in the letter entitled “Notification of Muslim parents’ resolution on Hijab for our Muslim girls in ISI”, signed by Alhaji Abdurrahman Balogun (Chairman) and Mrs. Bilikis Badiru (Secretary), also copied Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and Sultan of Sokoto, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Ibadan, Ibadan; The Chairman, ISI Parents Teachers Association, ISI; Vice – Chancellor, University of Ibadan; Deputy Vice – Chancellor (Academic), University of Ibadan; Registrar, University of Ibadan; Chairman, University of Ibadan Muslim Community; Chief Imam, University of Ibadan Muslim Community; Minister, Federal Ministry of Education; Commissioner, Oyo State Ministry of Education; Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN); Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State; President, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN); President, Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN); President, Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN); President, Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA); President, Muslim Rights Council (MURIC) and Chairman, Hijab Advocacy Groups.