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KWARA: Govt insists on resumption, deploys task force to schools shut by churches

THE government has reassured members of the public, especially parents and teachers, that schools across the state are safe for their children to resume academic activities.

The state government noted that it had put the unfortunate incident over hijab wearing that happened earlier in the week behind it.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Press Secretary in the state Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Yakub Ali-Agan, yesterday.

Disclosing how sanity was restored to the Christian missions schools that erupted in crisis over the hijab controversy, the statement said the state government deployed a task force, yesterday, to implement its directive to all schools in the state to reopen and all teachers to resume.

The statement read, “The schools were opened by a government task force which moved round the metropolis to ensure that the directive is followed and that teachers and students are protected and allowed to begin academic activities.

“At Cherubim and Seraphim College, Sabo Oke, Ilorin, some church leaders locked and barricaded the entrance to the college until government officials escorted by security officials opened the school gate. At Baptist LGEA primary and secondary schools, Surulere, Ilorin, everything went on peacefully with teachers and students seen in their classrooms.

“The government task force, led by officials from the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development and the Teaching Service Commission, reassured members of the public, especially parents and teachers, that the unfortunate incident of Wednesday had been put behind the state and that the schools are safe for schoolchildren to resume learning in earnest.”

According to Ali-Agan, the task force said the government would continue to engage all stakeholders to remain law-abiding and peaceful.

The affected mission schools closed by the government were said to include C&S College, Sabo Oke; St. Anthony College, Offa Road; ECWA School, Oja Iya; Surulere Baptist Secondary School; and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

Others were CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam; St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo Oke; St. John School Maraba; St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo Isale; and St. James Secondary School, Maraba, all in Ilorin, the state capital.

The government had ordered the reopening of the schools two days ago as Christian missions insisted that they would not allow the use of hijab by Muslim female students in their schools.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, Kwara Chapter had earlier said wearing hijab by female Muslim students would make students of other religious persuasions, particularly Christian students, easy targets for terrorists.

The Christian body also noted that allowing hijab by female Muslim students would defeat the essence of making school uniforms a leveller.

Though the state Teaching Service Commission, two days ago, had directed teachers of the affected schools to report to their respective schools yesterday, the teachers, who arrived promptly at their respective schools, were locked out by some churches.

The churches insisted that they would not allow students or teachers to resume unless the state government rescinded its decision on wearing of hijab in Christian mission schools.

The development forced the state government to deploy task force to the affected schools to allow teachers, and female Muslim students alike, to enter the school premises and resume academic activities.

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