Hijab Controversy: Kwara Orders 10 Schools to Remain Shut

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By Hammed Shittu

The Kwara State Government yesterday directed that 10 public/grant-aided government schools it closed down over the controversy that trailed the use of Hijab in public schools should remain shut until further notice, citing safety reasons.

The state government recently ordered female students in public schools to use Hijab.

The affected schools are billed to resume academic works yesterday (Monday) before their reopening was cancelled by the government.

The affected schools include C&S College Sabo Oke; ST. Anthony College, Offa Road; ECWA School, Oja Iya; Surulere Baptist Secondary School; Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam; CAC Secondary School Asa Dam Road; St. Barnabas Secondary School Sabo Oke; St. John School Maraba; St. Williams Secondary School Taiwo Isale and St. James Secondary School Maraba.

Schools owned by Christian organisations and proprietors as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have rejected the order, insisting that they would never allow the Hijab dresses in their schools.

They also asked the state government to return their schools to them, adding that the order for the use of Hijab dress in the affected schools lacked proper consultations.

But, Muslim leaders in the state have insisted that students should be allowed to use the Hijab in accordance with the country’s constitution.

The development, according to THISDAY checks, might not be unconnected with security report that did not favour the resumption of the affected schools.

It was also gathered that the state government at the weekend held a peace meeting in Ilorin with the owners of Christian mission schools over the issue.

Sources told THISDAY during the weekend that Christian faithful have been directed to occupy the affected schools and hold a day of prayer and fasting for divine intervention on the matter.

The development according to THISDAY checks might have prompted the state government to cancel the schools’ resumption to avoid the breakdown of law and order in the state and avert religious crisis in the state.

However, a statement issued yesterday by the State Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, stated that the ministry “wishes to inform members of the public that the 10 government schools where the use of Hijab is disputed will remain shut until a later date.”