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Hijab Controversy: Muslims, Christians clash in Kwara

There was a violent protest in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, on Wednesday morning after school officials at Baptist School, Surulere, prevented female students wearing hijab from entering the school.

The decision to bar the Muslim students from entering the school on Wednesday despite government decision did not go down well with some parents, leading to violent face-off.

The state government announced the reopening of 10 schools on Wednesday morning after they were first shut down in February.

The schools were closed on Feb. 19 over a dispute about the wearing of hijab by Muslim female students in some of the schools.

The government set up a committee to find a solution to the dispute and it was later announced that the schools will resume on March 8 with willing female students allowed to use hijab.

The government, however, rescinded its decision to reopen the schools over safety concerns some parties in the dispute were not willing to accept the government’s verdict.

This led to the continuous closure of the schools.

“The closure of the schools became necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties,” the permanent secretary in the Kwara State Ministry of Education Kemi Adeosun said.

“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 hijab had long been adopted in northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo States.”

The leader of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church in Kwara State Most Reverend Samuel Abidoye disagreed with the government’s decision to allow Muslim students to wear in Christian schools.

According to Abidoye, the movement is against the use of hijab school since the church would be responsible for the appointment of the management of the institution and decides the dress code and use of beret.

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