Hijab Controversy: Kwara On The Boil As Govt Shuts More Schools

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State



By Ayo Kehinde




Following Sunday’s rejection of the use of Hijab by female students at the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide in Kwara State as ordered by the state government in its public schools, the state government on Monday issued a counter-directive to reaffirm its earlier seven-day old order shutting down 10 schools belonging to the Catholic, Anglican, Crist Apostolic Church ECWA and Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Worldwide for flouting the order.

Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development in a statement on Monday said that the schools should remain closed because of security reasons.

According to her in the statement; “Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development wishes to inform members of the public that the 10 government schools where the use of hijaab is disputed will remain shut until a later date.

“This decision has been taken for safety reasons.

She listed the affected schools to include C&S College Sabo Oke, ST. Anthony College, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School, Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam, CAC Secondary School Asa Dam road, St. Barnabas Secondary School Sabo Oke, St. John School Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School Taiwo Isale, and St. James Secondary School Maraba.

“The government, therefore, directs school children and teachers in the affected schools to remain at home until the contrary is announced. The government remains committed to fairness, pluralism, and respect for the law and rights of every citizen at all times.”

On Sunday, the Chairman and Spiritual Father of the church, Most Reverend Samuel Abidoye, told journalists in that the Movement is against the use of the Muslim veil by female students of the school since the church would be responsible for the appointment of the management of the institution and decide on dress code and use of beret.

The Secretary of Ilorin District headquarters of the movement, Mr  Samson Ibidoja, also stressed that the maintenance of the school has been the sole responsibility of the church.
He said the Cherubim and Seraphim College at Sabo-oke in llorin owned by Seraphim Church Worldwide was established in 1969 to take care of the educational development of children.
The church, therefore, advised the government to revisit its decision on the matter to forestall unnecessary trespass capable of leading to breakdown of law and order in any part of the state.

In another reaction, the Chairman of Muslim Stakeholders in Kwara, Prof. Hamzat AbdulRaheem, said the state government decision on the use of Hijab by female students in all schools must be respected to allow peace continue to reign in the state.
“What the Christian brothers and sisters are carrying to the whole world is false, there are many Christian private schools in the state that Muslims can’t enforce the use of Hijab, but that of public schools is different,” he said.

AbdulRaheem advised the Cherubim and Seraphim Church to either abide with the state government decision on the use of Hijab by female students or request for the taking over of the school with the sharing of its assets and liabilities.

To douse tension, the state government had called calling a stakeholders’ dialogue between Christians and Muslims and later came out with a decision to allow the use of Hijab by female students in all schools in the state.

The government had earlier said that it approved the wearing of Hijab in all government grant-aided public schools in the state and directed that the schools be reopened on Monday, March 8, 2021. But the controversy generated by the directive had forced the government to rescind the decision