Hijab Controversy: Christian leaders reject Kwara govt. decision as students resume on Monday
Christian leaders in Kwara have rejected the directive by the state government to all public schools to allow the use of Hijab as 10 schools shut over the controversy reopen on Monday.
The leaders called on Christian faithful to occupy the affected schools and to hold a day of prayer and fasting for divine intervention.
The government, last Friday, ordered the temporary closure of 10 grant-aided secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital, pending the resolution of the controversy in the schools, which were established by Christian missions.
The schools are Cherubim and Seraphim 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.
While Muslim leaders insisted that students should be allowed to use the head covering in accordance with the Constitution, their Christian counterparts demanded respect for the background of the schools that were established by churches or Christian missionaries.
However, on Thursday evening, the state government approved the use of Hijab in all public schools in the state.
According to a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mamma Jibril, the state government said it considered the submissions of all the major interest groups before arriving at its decision on the matter.
Reacting to the government’s statement, however, the proprietors of the affected schools rejected the decision of the government.
In a communique read by Victor Dada, a reverend, the group “condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.
“Christian mission grant-aided schools should be returned to the owners promptly as most of these schools have churches besides them and unnecessary trespass may lead to break down of law and order.
“Christian faithful should occupy all grant-aided schools. Christians should have a day for prayers and fasting for God to intervene in the imbroglio.
“We shall continue to interact and dialogue with the state government on the return of grant-aided schools to the proprietors,” Mr Dada said on Saturday.
The opposition from the group may thwart the peace efforts of the state government to bring an end to the controversy.
The spokespersons of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the education ministry both declined comments on the objection of the Christian leaders.
But an official of the ministry, who spoke unofficially on the matter. said the decision of the government stands.
“The appeal court has ruled that the schools belong to the government and the use of hijab is a constitutional right of pupils,” he said.