By Ademola Adeyemi
One month after the Kwara State Government shut 10 grant-aided schools over the wearing of Hijab by Muslim students, the schools have finally been reopened.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Kemi Adeosun disclosed in a statement on Tuesday.
Adeosun said the schools will be reopened on Wednesday, March 17 (today).
However, problem began when some Christian leaders prevented some hijab wearing girls from entering the school.
The situation led to a free for all fights and security operatives were called in.
“The government is convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijaab (face covering) in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijaab had long been adopted in all of the northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States.
“As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily.”
She said the government has made provisions for some light refreshments for the students during the extra lessons and teachers involved would also receive a stipend for their work.
“This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties,” she said.
On February 10, the state government shut the 10 missionary founded schools as controversy raged over the use of a face veil in the schools.
The affected schools are Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) College, Sabo-Oke, St, Anthony’s Secondary School, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja-Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Baptist Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.
Others are CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam Road, St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo-Oke, John School, Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo-Isale and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.
The schools were founded by Christian missionaries before they were taken over by the government. Currently, they schools are still receiving some support from the founding churches, fueling an intense opposition to the permission for Islamic veil to be worn by the students who have refused all entreaties to seek admission into Muslim schools in the state.