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KWARA: Christians, Muslims clash over hijab as govt. reopens schools in Ilorin

THE brewing sectarian tension in Ilorin, the state capital, over controversy on hijab came to a head this morning after the government ordered the reopening of some schools it had shut over the matter.

The state government had ordered the reopening of 10 schools it closed on February 19 over a dispute on the usage of the hijab headgear usually worn by Muslim female students in the state.

The government had set up a committee to find a solution to the discord. 

It had also announced that the schools should resume with Muslim female students allowed to use hijab.

Violence, however, ensued after Christian officials of the Baptist School situated in the Surulere area of the capital city were said to have disallowed girls in hijab from gaining access to the school premises.

It  was learnt that this caused a stir among Muslim parents, leading to altercations between adherents of both Christianity and Islamic persuasions.

Eyewitnesses said in the twinkling of an eye, the altercation degenerated into violence as both parties starting hurling objects at one another.

It was also gathered that the security operatives close to the area immediately called for back up after which the crowd was dispersed with tear gas.

Speaking on the incident, Ajayi Okasannmi Jeffrey, the spokesperson of the state police command, charged citizens to remain calm while the state government works towards fully resolving the controversy.

“You’re aware there’s been a disagreement about the female Muslim students and the wearing of the Hijab. The government directed that the school should be reopened today,” the PPRO said.

“The Muslims are insisting on entering the school with Hijab; the Christians are saying they’re not going to enter.

“Our primary duty is to ensure that there is peace and that’s exactly what we are doing. We’ve responded by ensuring that there is no breakdown of law and order.

“The commissioner o police have deployed so many police operatives there. So we’re managing it. We advised the citizens to maintain peace and abide by the decision of the government until the matter is fully resolved.”

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