The Kwara state government has said the wearing of hijab is a fundamental right of any schoolgirl who wishes to wear it.
Mamman Jibril, the secretary to the state government, said this in a statement he issued on Wednesday. He stated the use of the hijab is voluntary.
“It is important to clarify that the government is not imposing the hijab. It is not mandatory for all our schoolgirls to wear hijab,” the statement said.
“Rather, the state government approves hijab for any Muslim schoolgirl who wishes to use it. The government is only respecting the fundamental human right of those schoolgirls. Nothing more.
“This has been communicated to all school heads via a circular of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.”
The state government said stopping Muslim schoolgirls from wearing hijab in public schools is a “violent contravention of provisions of Section 38 of the constitution”.
“Secondly, the law today is that any willing Muslim schoolgirl cannot be stopped from wearing hijab in public schools. Anything to the contrary will be in violent contravention of provisions of Section 38 of the Constitution,” the state government said.
“The Court of Appeal has affirmed this position in at least three different declaratory judgments. The Government of Kwara State, a product of democracy and rule of law, cannot go contrary to the law.
“Besides, the hijab question has come under the concept of pluralism and multiculturalism in the global community, including in the western world. States like Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Lagos have gone through this debate and they all resolved in favour of pluralism.”
Crisis erupted on Wednesday between Muslims and Christians at the Baptist Secondary School, Surulere, in Ilorin.
The Baptist missions were said to have rejected the use of the hijab, a development that drew the ire of some Muslim parents.