The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kwara has accused the State Government of forceful imposition of hijab-wearing by female students on all the grant-aided schools in Ilorin, the state capital.
CAN claims that it never signed any agreement with the State Government allowing the use of hijab in all the grant-aided schools.
The association added that the government’s inaction led to last week violence over hijab controversy at Oyun Baptist High School (OBHS) Ijagbo in Oyun local government area.
In a statement, Kwara acting CAN Chairman Bishop Samson Adewole said the February bloody fracas ‘should have been averted if the state government had yielded to CAN’s earlier appeal.
It reads,”The unfortunate saga that occurred at Oyun Baptist High School (OBHS) Ijagbo on 3rd February, 2022 should have been averted if the State Government had yielded to CAN earlier appeal.
“It is noteworthy to mention that Kwara CAN has written a letter of appeal to the Executive Governor to urgently look into this matter, dated 25th January, 2022, titled “The Ongoing Hijab Crisis at Oyun Baptist High School(OBHS) and Other Mission Schools in Oyun and Offa Local Government Areas: Calling for an Urgent Intervention”.
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“The said letter was delivered and received at the State Government house. To the surprise of the Christian Community the appeal was neglected and the matter unattended to by the State Government.
“To put the record straight precisely on 2nd February, 2022, some Muslims fanatics with some Muslims female students of OBHS Ijagbo staged a protest in Ijagbo town and later came to Ilorin to continue the protest at the Government house chanting slogan like “no school tomorrow except with Hijab” and the following day (i.e. 3rd February, 2022) they were mobilized with dangerous weapons to unleash mayhem on the innocent Christian proprietors; these weapons were freely used by these fundamentalists.
“The report at our disposal indicates that an innocent passerby was also attacked and macheted by these Muslim fanatics. The individual was not a Christian as wrongfully claimed by some individuals. The fellow reappeared, reinforced with his fellow thugs and retaliated, this led to serious fracas with the Muslims protesters. It was the timely intervention of the security agents that restored normalcy at the School gate.
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“Consequently, we reiterate for the umpteenth time that at no time did Kwara CAN and stakeholders sign/concede to any agreement or policy with the Kwara State Government on the use of Hijab as it is beingclaimed by the Honourable Commissioner of Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Sa’aadatu Modibo Kawu.
“The usage of hijab in Christian Missions schools in Ilorin metropolis was forcefully implemented and imposed.
“Unfortunately, the Commissioner of Education and Human Capital Development, is undiplomatic in her ways of handling the matter at Stake. Her action continued to generate religious tension and she was not proactive enough when an earlier protest was staged on the 2nd February, 2022 by some Muslims fanatics.
“Perhaps a prompt response would have rescued this ugly situation.
“The Kwara CAN’s efforts to sit and reason with the government on how to foster lasting peace on the issue is yet to yield any result.
“As Christians you are all urged to remain calm, peaceful and be law
abiding in the face of any provocation, believing that all issues will be resolved soonest. The perpetrators of this heinous crime that occurred at OBHS Ijagbo should be made to face the full wrath of the law.”