Kwara Orders Closure of 10 Schools over Hijab Protest

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Kwara State Government yesterday ordered the closure of 10 secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital following the protest that greeted the alleged refusal of their school authorities to allow female muslims students to use Hijab to cover their heads in their schools.

The affected schools closed by the government are C&S College Sabo Oke, St. Anthony College, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

Others include, CAC Secondary School Asa Dam, St. Barnabas Secondary School Sabo Oke, St. John School Maraba, and St. Williams Secondary School Taiwo Isale, St. James Secondary School Maraba, all in Ilorin, the state capital.
The Muslims stakeholders in the state at a press conference in Ilorin on Tuesday appealed to the state government to prevail on former owners of public schools in the state to allow female Muslim students wear hijab.

The spokesman of the group, Alhaji Ishaq Abdulkareem said that , since the state government had taken over such schools, the former missionary owners no longer had control over the grant – aided schools in the state.
Speaking at a press conference in Ilorin yesterday, the spokesperson of the group, Alhaji Isiaq Abdulkareem said that, allowing Muslim female students to wear hijab would be in conformity with the judgment of the Kwara State High Court of 2016 and that of the Court of Appeal of 2019.

The development however prompted the state Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to call a peace meeting with the religious leaders on Thursday so as to resolve the issue.

Governor AbdulRazaq was represented by his deputy, Mr. Lekan Alabi
The meeting which included both Muslim and Christian leaders would allow them to take positions and offering opinions on how to resolve the differences on the Hijab question in grant-aided schools.

The government however set up committee to look into the Hijab controversy in some schools in the state.
The government therefore stressed the need for every side to keep the peace and constantly caution members of their communities to avoid any action or comments that may disturb public ace.

However, yesterday, hundreds of female students who put Hijab on their heads were turned back to their various homes.
The development however led to peaceful protest in Ilorin as parents and guardians of the affected female students kicked against the turning back of their female children in their schools by their school’s Principals.
In order to avoid what may likely lead to religious crisis in the state, the state government consequently closed ten schools where the protest of Muslim female students happened.

In a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, state ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs. Mary Kemi Adeosun state that,, “The closure comes as a government committee comprising representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities meets today(Friday) to iron out the differences between the two communities.

“Further communication will be issued to inform members of the public on the development.

“Government calls for calm and urges parents and religious leaders to avoid actions or comments that may further split the two communities”.

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