Five injured during hijab crisis in Ilorin

At least five persons were reportedly injured in a clash between some Muslim and Christian groups over wearing of hijab in some schools in Ilorin, Kwara State on Wednesday.

It is recalled that the state government had on Tuesday evening directed the 10 affected schools in the hijab controversy to reopen on Wednesday for academic activities after they were shut to prevent the break down of law and order.

The Nigerian Tribune gathered that both Muslim and Christian groups, on Wednesday, engaged in war of words and eventually threw stones at one another over the resumption of the schools, thereby injuring many people.

Many people were seen with blood on their heads as they sustained injuries from stones thrown at them.

It was gathered that the chaotic situation happened at Baptist Secondary School, Surulere and ECWA School, Oja Iya both in the Ilorin metropolis as law enforcement agents were quickly drafted to the places to return normalcy.

It was reported that the law enforcement agents had to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the rampaging crowd from the scene.

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

Others are CAC Secondary School Asa Dam Road, St Barnabas Secondary School Sabo Oke, St. John School, Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School, Ibrahim Taiwo Isale, and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.

The Kwara State government had on Tuesday evening announced the reopening of the 10 schools that were recently shut down over controversy that trailed the wearing of hijab by female Muslim students.

In a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary Kemi Adeosun, the schools were asked to reopen on Wednesday, even as the government’s peacebuilding efforts continue.

The statement reads: “The government is convinced that its policy to allow -willing- Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijab in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding. 

“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijaab had long been adopted in all of the northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States. 

“As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily. 

“The government will provide light lunch for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers allotted for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts. 

“This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties.

“The government sincerely commends the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks. 

“It urges everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of schoolchildren who will respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.

“Finally, the government reminds all its employees such as school principals and teachers in the affected schools to take special note of the policy. 

“There will be zero tolerance for violations of anyone’s fundamental human rights under their watch.”

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