The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday urged the Kwara State Government to change the names of all the grant-aided public schools in line with the state’s Education Law CAP E1 which made turn public schools.
This followed last Thursday’s violence at Baptist High School, Ijagbo, in Oyun Local Government of Kwara State, which led to the killing of Habeeb Idris, a Muslim student of the school when a rally by the Muslim students was reportedly disrupted by hoodlums and security agents.
The NSCIA, in a statement yesterday by its Director of Administration, Zubairu Haruna Usman-Ugwu, said it would no longer sit by and allow the various court judgments secured by the Muslim Ummah on hijab usage and others to continue to be consigned to the dust bin of history.
“Henceforth, we shall, in conjunction with other stakeholders, institute contempt of court proceeding against any person that violates a legally binding judgment of court if the government fails to do its duty.
“We call on the government of Kwara State to, as a matter of urgency, commence the process of changing the names of all the grant-aided public schools in line with the state Education Law CAP E1, which made them public schools,” Usman-Ugwu said.
He also challenged the Kwara State Government to walk its talk on directives and adopt a more stringent approach to ending the “amorphous and systematic bullying” of Muslim students by the authorities of the grant-aided public schools on account of their religious beliefs.
He described last Thursday’s violence as a sadistic and barbaric carnage unleashed on innocent Muslim students.
He said the victims of this premeditated violence were only exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful protest over the decision of Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, to deny some female Muslim students entry to the school premises on account of their use of hijab.
He also blamed the Kwara State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the violence, over the recent statement in which it vowed to reject any ‘imposition’ of the use of hijab in the so-called mission schools in the state.
He stated: “It will be recalled that the Muslim students’ despair peaked exponentially last week as tension rose and nerves frayed over this unjust treatment.
“This situation was aggravated by the inaction of the government of Kwara State to quickly arrest the situation and enforce its own directive which was restated on January 25, 2022, to all public schools in the state on the use of hijab and berets for willing students after the management of Oyun Baptist High School suddenly decreed that female students should not wear hijab to the school again.
“With the indifferent attitude of the government to this infringement, the students took their frustration and complaint to the Kwara State Teaching Service Commission and to the Government House in Ilorin prior to the protest at the school gate in Ijagbo.