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Hijab: Govt Urged To Rename Funded Schools To End Crisis

Against the backdrop of violence that greeted the wearing of hijab at Oyun Baptist High School at Ijagbo in Kwara State, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Kwara Must Change (KMC), has called on the state government to rename all government funded faith based schools to end ownership tussle in the schools.

One person was killed at Ijagbo during the protest that greeted the wearing of hijab at Oyun Baptist High School at Ijagbo last week Friday.

The state government has closed down the affected school as the state police command has commenced full investigations into the dastardly act.

Also, the two religions’ bodies in the state, Muslim Stakeholders Forum (MSF) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), have called for the setting up of commission of inquiry to fish out the perpetrators of the act.

However, the KMC, in a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday and signed by the Convener of the KMC, Mr. AbdulRazaq Hamzat, said that “the government inability to enforce its own rules and regulations, as well as multiple court judgments portrayed it as weak, because those violating the rules are its staff, being paid by public funds, who must face consequences of violation of government rules and regulations.”

The group explained that “no religious sentiment or bias should supersede the constitution of Nigeria or the human rights of any citizen.

“And going forward, no individual or group of individuals should be allowed to impose their ideas of law and rights on others, against the dictate of a properly constituted court of justice,” Hamzat said.

He added: “For some time now, Kwara State Government has been trying to handle the issue of discrimination against students with hijab in some schools, but resistance to laid down rules and regulations have persisted, even against multiple court judgments.

“It is clear, from various evidences that government owned all faith based schools since 1974 when they took over the funding and management of the schools. But due to respect for the founding fathers of those schools, they decided to retain their original names, a decision that is now causing misperception and confusion, leading to loss of live in a recent protest.”

Hamzat maintained that “considering the persistent crisis in those schools, and the outright refusal to adhere to laid down rules and regulations, including multiple court judgments, what is expected of government, as a means to permanent solution is to rename all faith based schools to ensure names of the schools become secular rather than the faith based name currently in use.

“Immediately the schools are renamed, the faith based perception will be removed and the issue of violation of laid down rules and regulations can be adequately addressed and those who violate court judgments should be charged for contempt of court.”

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