The Kwara state government says its stance on the use of hijab in public schools in the state is based on law and respect for pluralism.
The use of hijab has been generating controversy in public schools in the state, especially in grant-aided missionary schools.
In February 2021, the state government ordered the closure of 10 schools over a dispute on the matter.
The controversy later degenerated into violence in Ilorin, the capital, where Christians and Muslims engaged in a confrontation following the decision of the state government to reopen the schools.
The state government had thereafter insisted that public schools should allow female Muslim students to use the hijab.
In a statement on Tuesday, Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesman to Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the state governor, said the use of hijab is a constitutional right.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the governor maintains the earlier position of the state government on the question of hijab as follows,” the statement read.
“Based on subsisting court judgments which were built on the constitution, federal and state laws, principle of pluralism, and sanctity of the right of every person to their identity, especially in public space, the use of hijaab in public schools is a constitutional right that the government shall protect for anyone and everyone willing to use it.
“The government’s strategic patience in the handling of delicate matters involving the people it swore to protect is not same as pandering to anyone’s whims.
“Consequently, the governor stands firmly by government’s policy on the permissibility of hijaab for every Muslim girl child who desires to wear it in all public schools.”
The statement also warned people against using the hijab controversy to cause further division among Christians and Muslims in the state.
“The governor appeals to the people of the state to not allow agents of fake news and disinformation to mislead them and set them against one another. This administration, to be sure, is beholden only to the law, truth and fairness to all at all times,” it added.
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