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Hijab Crisis: Kwara Reopens Baptist School After Four-Month Closure, Says Islamic Headcoverings Allowed

June 2, 2022

The state government had closed the school on Thursday, February 3, 2022, saying it “condemns the flagrant act of discrimination against anyone, especially children, on religious grounds.”

The Kwara State Government has announced the reopening of Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, for students after about four months of closure over the use of hijab by female Muslim students.

The state government had closed the school on Thursday, February 3, 2022, saying it “condemns the flagrant act of discrimination against anyone, especially children, on religious grounds.”

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“Such discrimination will not be tolerated in any public-owned institution in the state,” it had added.

However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary Adeosun, said the school would be reopened from Friday, June 3, exactly four months after it was closed.

The government said it would not “hesitate to shut the school again, among other things, if anything threatens the safety of the little children”.

 

The statement read, “The Ministry’s decision to reopen the school is one of the government’s multi-prong approaches to return normalcy to the school.

 

“Consequently, all teachers and students are directed to return to their classrooms while the government white paper committee continues the efforts to address pending issues related to the recent disturbance in the public school.

 

“Similarly, the Ministry restates the government’s position that any Muslim schoolgirl who desires to wear the Hijab is allowed to do so in all public schools, including in Oyun Baptist High School Ijagbo, which is owned by the State Government and run with public resources.”

Some alumni of the school had blamed the government for allegedly failing to act on reports given to it concerning a planned attack on the school.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that alumni noted that the crisis in the school should have been nipped in the bud because the Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria had called on the government but there was no response.

The alumni had demanded that the state government should unravel and unveil the hoodlums and extremists causing a public disturbance in the name of Hijab enforcement.

In a release sent to SaharaReporters, one of the alumni had said, “On 2nd February, 2022, we were informed that some Jihadists had mobilised and were ready to destabilise the academic session of OBHS.

 

"Promptly as early as 6 am, the Ijagbo CAN Chairman called the Chief Imam of Ijagbo of the planned invasion of the OBHS by the fundamentalists, to caution them and await the outcome of the meeting scheduled to hold by 11 am called for by the state government.

 

“Unfortunately, around 6:30 am, without any provocation, the jihadist started shouting 'No Hijab, no school' as they marched in batches to the school.

 

"A few of them were from Ijagbo, most of them were mercenaries from Offa, Ilorin and a number of them were from Osun State. Even Ijagbo Muslims confirmed that most of the faces at the crisis zone were strange in the community. This is to let the public know how calculated and organised the attack was.                               

“All efforts of the Nigeria Police Force, DSS (Department of State Services), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on the ground to calm these fundamentalists proved abortive.

 

"This is history repeating itself. It was in March/April 2021 that a similar Hijab crisis, which is believed to have been sponsored by the people close to and in the government of Kwara State, ensued and resulted in the brutality of some church members and the loss of properties worth millions of naira in Ilorin.

 

“Oyun Baptist High School does not only have a school in it, it has farmlands, a Chapel, and other private properties owned by the proprietor.”

 

The alumni raised some posers, saying, “How did the Government circular on hijab enforcement find its way to Giwa Mosque's Imam in Offa when churches don't have a copy? When did Islamic clerics become law enforcement agents in Kwara State? Are the armed Jihadist protesters students of OBHS or parents?

 

"Are they from the ministry of education? Was permission taken from necessary Security Agents before the so-called peaceful protest was carried out? Why were they armed, attacking and harassing Christians, students and passersby? Who armed them with weapons and walkie-talkies?"