Hijab controversy: we will be fair, courageous in taking decisions – Kwara Gov
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has said his administration will be fair and courageous in taking decisions in the overall interest of the state.
He stated this in a state broadcast on Tuesday amid the controversy trailing the ban of hijab in some mission schools in the state.
The school authorities had on February 19 denied the students entry, saying that the use of the headgear is not allowed in line with the doctrine establishing the mission schools, but the students have defied the directives.
Following the development, the Kwara State Government waded into the matter by approving the use of hijab for the students.
In a statement issued on February 26, the Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Prof. Mamma Sabah Jibril, said “any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear the same in public/grant-aided schools.”
Additionally, the government through its Ministry of Education ordered the closure of 10 schools, where the use of hijab is disputed.
But this didn’t go down well with the school authorities.
When the schools were eventually reopened on March 17, violence erupted in Ilorin as Christians and Muslims clashed in the state capital.
The violence started after Christian officials of Baptist School, Surulere disallowed the girls in Hijab from gaining access into the school.
Reacting to the issue, Governor AbdulRazaq said his administration announced an official policy on February 26 allowing any willing Muslim schoolgirl to wear the hijab in public schools after “several days of consultations, meetings, brainstorming, and dispassionate weighing of policy options.”
“We took that decision in good faith and in the overall interest of all. I swore to an oath to protect every Kwaran. This oath includes looking at the bigger picture and doing everything to prevent a crisis before it occurs,” he said.
“I acknowledge the apprehension from the Christian and Muslim communities. Having held dozens of meetings with various thoughts leaders from both sides in the last four weeks, I am convinced that beneath the tensions and misgivings around the hijaab decision are old wounds that must be healed.
“I assure all Kwarans that we will take genuine steps to address the concerns raised by various faith communities. In doing so, a huge dose of understanding, selflessness, and patriotism will be required. Going forward, we will need leaders from both sides to spread the message of love, accommodation, patience, peace, and mutual respect.
“Notwithstanding their varied positions, I am proud of the level of restraints and statesmanship shown by our religious leaders. I commend them and reassure them that we will always be fair, courageous in taking decisions for sustainable peace, and be willing to listen to their concerns.”