- There is an ongoing disagreement over whether female secondary school students should wear hijab to Christian missionary schools in Kwara
- The disagreement has now snowballed into a major crisis as the opposing groups have engaged in physical combat
- The clash between both sides happened in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, but the police were quick to disperse the troublemakers
Violence erupted on Wednesday, March 17 in Ilorin after the Kwara state government reopened 10 schools shut last month over the use of hijab by Muslim female students.
Channels TV reports that the violence started after Christian officials of Baptist School, Surulere disallowed girls in hijab from gaining access into the school.
The action did not go down well with Muslim parents, leading to arguments and eventual clash, with both sides throwing various objects including stones and plastic chairs at themselves.
The security operatives close to the school had to call for reinforcement to calm the situation and dispersed the warring factions with tear gas.
Daily Trust reports that students and teachers who resumed in line with the government’s directive were denied access to some school premises as protesting teachers and management staff displayed different placards to express their displeasure over the government’s decision.
Some Nigerians have been commenting on the controversy via social media.
Popoola Michael wrote:
“This is shameful and needless. In the '80s and '90s, a lot of Muslim ladies attended public schools without hijab. Did it stop them from achieving their goals in life? The answer is a resounding NO! Kwara government should learn from Osun state.”
Ismail Ridwan Bayonle wrote:
“Kwara state government should arrest anyone resisting the rights of students to use hijab.”
Babs Ayandayo wrote:
“The hijab crisis is slowly becoming a pain on the neck of people living in Kwara state. I think the fact of intolerance is the main cause of this crisis.”
Bola Oyefemi wrote:
“The reopening of the school order by the Abdulrazaq government without paying attention to details is now instigating a religious crisis in the city of Ilorin. Kwara hijab issue is not new, past governments were able to manage the situation.”
Azuka Emmanuel wrote:
“Why do governors prefer to focus on irrelevant issues? Kwara government didn't build new schools for the increasing student population, didn't renovate old dilapidated schools, didn't equip schools with labs and other learning aids. How does hijab improve educational standards?”
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the Kwara state government approved the use of hijab in all public schools in the state, following days of deliberations with stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the decision was rejected by the Kwara Baptist Conference which opined that the governor was following the wrong advice.
Kicking against the government's move, the president of the conference, Reverend Victor Dada, claimed that the governor even acted in contempt of the court because the case is still pending.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.