Kwara reopens Baptist school shut over hijab crisis

The Kwara State Government on Wednesday approved the reopening of Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, for students to resume academic activities after 119 days of closure over the crisis caused by the wearing of Hijab.

The school was closed down by the government on February 3, 2022, following a crisis between Muslim and Christian parents who besieged the school to defend their respective faith on the wearing of Hijab by female Muslim students in the school.

At least, one person was reportedly feared killed while 11 others were injured during the crisis.

No fewer than 150 final year students of the Senior secondary school who were expected to sit for their West Africa School Certificate Examinations have been the Casualties of the closure.

However, a statement issued on Wednesday by the State Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Mary Adeosun, announced the reopening of the Oyun Baptist High School Ijagbo from Friday, June 3, 2022.

The statement read, “the Ministry’s decision to reopen the school is one of the government’s multi-prong approaches to return normalcy to the school. 

“Consequently, all teachers and students are directed to return to their classrooms while the government white paper committee continues the efforts to address pending issues related to the recent disturbance in the public school.

“Similarly, the Ministry restates the government’s position that any Muslim schoolgirl who desires to wear the hijab is allowed to do so in all public schools, including in Oyun Baptist High School Ijagbo, which is owned by the State Government and run with public resources,” 

The government urged all stakeholders in the area to give peace a chance and to respect the law, warning that “the government will not hesitate to shut the school again, among other things, if anything threatens the safety of the little children.”

The statement said that the ministry welcomes all the students back to school and urged them to maximise their time in the classrooms, while relevant authorities are also urged to help them to fill any gaps on whatever they might have missed during the closure of the school.

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