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Kwara CAN blames state govt for hijab crisis that led to death of parent

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The Kwara State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria has blamed the state government for refusing to be proactive over the Hijab controversy in the state.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the acting Chairman and Secretary, Bishop S. T. G. Adewole and Rev Reuben Ibitoye, respectively, on Sunday.

Ripples Nigeria had reported last Thursday’s clash on the wearing of hijab by female Muslim students of the Baptist High School, Ijagbo, in the Oyun Local Government Area of the state.

Habeeb Idris, a parent, was killed during the furore outside the premises of the school during a protest by Muslim parents.

In its statement, the Christian body noted that the crisis could have been averted if the state government responded to an earlier appeal over the use of Hijab in mission schools.

“The unfortunate saga that occurred at the Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, on February 3, 2022, should have been averted if the state government had yielded to CAN’s earlier appeal.

“It is noteworthy to mention that the Kwara CAN had written a letter of appeal to the executive governor on January 25, 2022, to urgently look into this matter. The letter was titled, ‘The ongoing hijab crisis at Oyun Baptist High School and other mission schools in Oyun and Offa Local Government Areas: Calling for an urgent intervention’.

“The said letter was delivered and received at the Government House. To the surprise of the Christian community, the appeal was neglected and the matter unattended to by the state government.

“To put the record straight, precisely on February 2, 2022, some Muslim fanatics with some Muslim female students of the OBHS, Ijagbo, staged a protest in Ijagbo town and later came to Ilorin to continue the protest at the Government House chanting slogan like, ‘No school tomorrow except with hjab’ and the following day, they were mobilised with weapons to unleash mayhem on the innocent Christian proprietors; these weapons were freely used by these fundamentalists.

“The report at our disposal indicates that an innocent passerby was also attacked and dealt machete blows by these Muslim fanatics. The individual was not a Christian as wrongfully claimed. The fellow reappeared, reinforced with his fellow thugs and retaliated; this led to serious fracas with the Muslims protesters. It was the timely intervention of security agents that restored normalcy at the school gate,” the statement reads.

Read also: Kwara Anglican Communion suggests ways to resolve hijab controversy

The CAN also stated that there was no agreement with the state government over the use of Hijab in mission schools and the ban must be fully implemented.

It added, “Consequently, we reiterate for the umpteenth time that at no time did Kwara CAN and stakeholders sign/concede to any agreement or policy with the Kwara State Government on the use of hijab as it is being claimed by the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Sa’aadatu Modibo Kawu. The usage of hijab in Christian mission schools in Ilorin metropolis was forcefully implemented and imposed.

“Unfortunately, the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development is undiplomatic in her ways of handling the matter at stake. Her action has continued to generate religious tension and she was not proactive enough when an earlier protest was staged on February 2, 2022 by some Muslim fanatics. Perhaps, a prompt response would have rescued this ugly situation.

“The Kwara CAN’s efforts to sit and reason with the government on how to foster lasting peace on the issue have yet to yield any result.”

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