From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Kwara State Government has announced the reopening of the 10 schools that were recently shut down over the hijab question, even as the government’s peace-building efforts continue.
The government in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary K Adeosun, noted that it is convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijab in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
‘This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijab had long been adopted in all of northern Nigeria and many states in the South-West such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo states,’ the statement read.
‘As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily. The government will provide light lunch for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers allotted for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts.
‘This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties.
‘The government sincerely commends the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks. It urges everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of schoolchildren who will respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.
‘Finally, the government reminds all its employees such as school principals and teachers in the affected schools to take special note of the policy. There will be zero tolerance for violations of anyone’s fundamental human rights under their watch,.’