Principal of Ijagbo Baptist High School, in Ijagbo, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Francis Sunday Lambe, on Monday gave a graphic account of what led to the hijab crisis in schools in the state February this year.
DAILY POST recalls that one person was reportedly killed and scores injured in the clash between Muslims and Christians over the issue of hijab in the school officially approved by the state government for Muslim girl students.
Presenting a report on the crisis to the panel of inquiry probing its immediate and remote causes, Lambe, who blamed the Christian Missionaries for the incident, said “on Monday, January 24, 2022, the Christian Missionaries stood at the main gate of the school and stopped any female Muslim student wearing hijab from coming into the school premises.
“The two principals were there to appeal to the Christian Missionaries to allow the students to come in with their hijabs but they refused.
“They threatened and even made an attempt to beat the principals. The Quality Assurance Bureau (KWQAB) officials came and also appealed to the Christian Missionaries to allow the students to enter the school, but they refused,” he added.
Lambe further disclosed that despite the efforts of the state education Commissioner, the Special Assistant on Religion (Islam) to the state governor and the TIC chairman for Oyun Local Government Area, who appealed to the Christian Missionaries, they refused to allow any student using the hijab to enter the school premises.
“On Thursday, February 3, 2022, early in the morning, noise was heard outside the school’s gate with people shouting “No hijab No School” and on sensing danger, the two principals ordered the school’s security men to lock the gate.”
The principal said he then called the Divisional Police Officer who arrived with police personnel and some students were later allowed to come into the school premises.
Mr. Lambe said everything that happened on Thursday February 3, 2022, was outside the school’s gate and on the highway including the days the Christian Missionaries stormed the school in the presence of security officials comprising the police, civil defence corps and the Department of State Security, DSS.
On the way forward to resolve the lingering crisis, the principal suggested among others a meeting between the state government, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Baptist Missionary Conference.
He emphasized the need for the two Christian bodies to understand reasons why Muslim schoolgirls must be allowed to wear the hijab in Christian grant-aided schools in the state.
Answering questions from the chairman of the panel, Dr Ibrahim Omoniyi, the principal said “going by the circular issued by the state government, the school is owned by the government, but selection and interview for principals of the school rests with the Baptist Missionary Conference that recommends the best candidate to the state Teaching Service Commission for confirmation.”
Omoniyi appealed to all concerned stakeholders to allow inclusiveness and tolerate one another in the interest of peace in the society.
He assured that the panel was not out to witch hunt anybody but to identify what happened and those involved in the bid to recommend solutions to mitigate future occurrence.