Former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has described the closing of ten schools over the hijab crisis by the Kwara State Government as unnecessary while calling on the Government to reopen all the affected schools that were closed down in the wake of the controversy.
In a statement on Friday, the former Commissioner for Education in the state remarked that the government should allow students to resume schooling without approving the use of hijab in public schools.
Kwara Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had directed, last Sunday, that the 10 public schools engulfed in the debate over the use of hijab by Muslim girls to remain shut for “safety reasons” due to the growing tension in the land.
Abdullahi said that the use of hijab in public schools is a legal matter which is long settled in favour of Muslim girl-child as fundamental rights.
“Under the best circumstance, the big concern for everyone was how to recover the precious time that the children had lost to COVID. Therefore, we cannot afford to keep the children out of school even for one further day if we truly care about their education,” he said.
“This hijab thing is nothing new. The contention over the identity of mission schools is also not new. We have managed these issues over the years without allowing them to escalate to the level of forcing the closure of schools. Some people are either mismanaging or exploiting this issue.”
He went further to query the necessity of the use of Hijab by Muslim girls and why it is being prioritised by the government.
“Is the government suggesting that parents of the Muslim children would prefer for the education of their children to suffer rather than allow them to attend schools without hijab? Or are they saying that the Christian parents would rather have their children stay at home than allow some Muslim children to wear hijab in school?
“I don’t think so. And this is why it is difficult to understand the rationale behind the decision of the government to keep the schools closed indefinitely.”
The former minister, however, appealed to the government to open the schools without delay even in the face of a lingering religious crisis in the state.971