The Kwara State Government has approved the use of hijab in all public schools in the state and directed the 10 schools it shut last week to reopen on Monday.
This was disclosed in a statement released by the Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Mamma Jibril, Thursday evening.
Recall that the government, last Friday, directed the temporary closure of 10 grant-aided secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital, pending the resolution of the controversy on the use of hijab (head covering).
The schools are C&S 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.
At the meetings held with government, leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities refused to shift ground.
While the Muslim leaders insisted their students should be allowed to use the head covering in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution, their Christian counterparts demanded respect for the ‘religious background’ of the schools.
However, according to its statement on Thursday, the state government said it has considered all the submissions, the education law of the state and prevailing court judgments.
The government said it has paid particular attention to the ‘declaratory’ nature of the subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and their purports.
“Consequently, the government hereby acknowledges and approves the right of the Muslim schoolgirl to wear the hijab, and directs the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to come up with a uniform hijab for all public/ grant-aided schools, which will be the accepted mode of head covering in schools. Any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear same in public/grant-aided schools,” he said.
“Also, the government affirms the right of every child in public schools to freedom of worship. The government hereby directs that the affected 10 schools should reopen to commence classes on Monday 8th March 2021.
“Similarly, the government has carefully noted submissions regarding ownership of grant-aided schools and related issues. While the status of these schools is the subject of judicial determination, this and other related matters will soon be subjected to a technical committee to advise accordingly. The government reassures all members of the public that it will act in good conscience at all times.
“The government asserts that there is no victor or vanquished on the hijab question. It urges the two faith communities, especially the leaders, opinion moulders and media personalities to act with restraint and great responsibility in their public utterances and actions, and continue to live in peace and harmony with one another. The government commends all the thought and religious leaders on both sides for their forbearance, understanding and commitment to peace.”
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