The Kwara State government says it ensured the 10 secondary schools in Ilorin shut over the hijab controversy were reopened on Friday.
“All the 10 public schools involved in the hijab controversy in Kwara State have been fully open on Friday, hours after the state government directed all the principals and teachers in the schools to resume for academic activities,” the state ministry of education said in a statement.
According to the statement, a government task force moved round Ilorin metropolis to ensure that the directive to reopen the schools was followed and that teachers and students were protected and allowed to begin academic activities.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how some of the schools were shut and teachers locked out in the early hours of Friday.
But the government said the task force, led by officials of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development and the Teaching Service Commission reopened some schools under lock with the help of security agents.
“At Cherubim and Seraphim College, Sabo Oke Ilorin, some church leaders locked and barricaded the entrance to the college until government officials escorted by security officials opened the school gate.
“At Baptist LGEA primary and secondary schools, Surulere, Ilorin, everything went on peacefully with teachers and students seen in their classrooms.”
The government reassured members of the public especially parents and teachers “that the unfortunate incident of Wednesday had been put behind the state and that the schools are safe for schoolchildren to resume learning in earnest”.
The government said “it will continue to engage stakeholders to continue to be law abiding and peaceful.”
For nearly a month, a crisis has raged in Kwara over the use of hijab (head covering) in some grant-aided schools.
Following confrontations between members of the two major religious communities in the state, the state government last month ordered the closure of 10 schools founded by Christian missions.
The government set up a committee to look into the controversy and later announced that all public schools should respect the rights of Muslim students to wear the head covering, if they choose to.
It then directed the 10 schools to reopen but later withdrew the directive, citing security concerns after Christian leaders in the state rejected its position on the use of the hijab.
The government finally ordered the schools to reopen on Wednesday but the crisis continued as rival groups clashed in some of the schools.
PREMIUM TIMES, on Thursday, reported how church members held worship services at the gates of some of the schools or filled the entrances with heaps of sand to prevent entry.
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