Hijab Crisis: Christians, Muslims clash as Kwara reopens schools

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Violence broke out between Muslims and Christians in Ilorin on Wednesday after the Kwara state government reopened some schools it had shut down over controversy on hijab.

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.

But the 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 into the school.

It is understood that this caused a stir among Muslim parents, leading to arguments and a clash where both Christian and Muslim adherents hurled 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.

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“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.”

Meanwhile, some residents took to their Twitter pages to share videos from the confrontations.

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