Hijab Controversy: Kwara Govt Announces Reopening Of 10 Schools

Written by on March 17, 2021

The Kwara State Government has announced the reopening of the 10 schools shut last month over the use of hijab by Muslim female students.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday night

She 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 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 statement read in part.

The Permanent Secretary added that 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 statement added.

She added that 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.

The government also warned 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,” Adeosun said.

The hijab controversy started over three weeks ago when officials of Saint Anthony Secondary School prevented Muslim female students from gaining entrance to the school claiming that it is a missionary school.

Several meetings were held between Muslim and Christian leaders to resolve the issue with the government temporarily closing down the ten schools until the reopening on Wednesday morning.

The ownership of the ten schools is still pending in the Supreme Court as both the High Court and Appeal Court affirmed the state government as the owner.

The Christians angered by the situation said the government should wait for the outcome of the judgement of the Supreme Court before fully taking over the schools.

The Kwara state government has taken over all the missionary schools owned by Christian and Muslims since 1974.


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