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Catholic: Kwara shuts 10 schools over hijab controversy

Catholic: Kwara shuts 10 schools over hijab controversy

Kwara has directed temporary closure of ten grant-aided secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital, pending the resolution of the hijab controversy in the affected schools.

The schools are C&S College, ST. Anthony College, ECWA School, Surulere Baptist Secondary School, Bishop Smith Secondary School, CAC Secondary School, St. Barnabas Secondary School, St. John School, St. Williams Secondary School and St. James Secondary School all in Ilorin metropolis.

Catholic: Kwara shuts 10 schools over hijab controversy
Catholic: Kwara shuts 10 schools over hijab controversy

Some of the schools had earlier on Friday allegedly locked out some hijab-wearing students.

Last Wednesday, some Muslims organisations had urged the state government to impress it on authorities of the affected schools to allow their female students wear hijab.

The Muslim stakeholders said that allowing Muslim female students to wear hijab will be in conformity with the judgment of the Kwara state High Court of 2016 and that of Court of Appeal of 2019.

They asked the state government to direct schools to allow Muslim female students to practice Islam in all ramifications, “i.e. observing prayers and use of hijab by female students”.

Addressing reporters in Ilorin, Muslim stakeholders which included representatives of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Federated Organizations of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), and Concerned Parents/Teachers Associations, expressed surprise that some former owners of schools in Ilorin on Monday and Tuesday forcefully removed hijab from heads of female Muslim students.

They listed the schools where there are infringements on the freedom of religion of female Muslim students to include St. Anthony, St. James, Bishop Smith, St. Anthony and ECWA, all in Ilorin.

Led by Ustaz Isiaq Abdulkareem, the people said they promptly reported the infringement on the concerned Muslim students to the appropriate quarters.

They, however, lamented that at a peace meeting held in the office of Secretary to the state government on Tuesday, the former missionary school owners, insisted that they were not concerned about the judgements of the Kwara state High Court and Appeal Court.

“This is the time for the government and the people of the state need peace more than ever before. It should be seen as calling for trouble as failure to act may lead to people enforcing their rights in the best possible way.

“As a stakeholder in this government, I appeal to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to take bold and urgent step in addressing this issue to avoid possible outbreak of crisis in the state,” he said.

This prompted a meeting between government and leaders of Christians and Muslims in the state on Thursday.

At the meeting presided over by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, the state urged all the parties to bury their differences and allow peace to reign.

In a statement Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said that “the closure comes as a government committee comprising representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities meets today 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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