Hijab crisis: OBHS Old students sue for peace, say crisis politically motivated

By Kayode Abdulazeez, Ilorin

Olu-omo of Ijagbo land, Chief Tunde Adeshina

Old students of the Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo in Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State have appealed to the state government to reopen the school in the interest of innocent students.

The school was shut early this month following the directive of the state government consequent to the crisis that erupted in the citadel of learning over use of hijab by some Muslim students in the school.

Speaking during the reunion ceremony of the 1984 set of the school, held in Ilorin over the weekend, Olu-omo of Ijagbo land, Chief Tunde Adeshina, said “what is happening to the school is very unfortunate, I could remember that during our time, nothing like discrimination, both Christians and Muslims were allowed to practice their faiths”

“But, when one looks at the whole political terrain now, all interest are basically on politics. When you look at it critically, it is not really religious, it is more of politically motivated issue. But, what can one do? We are in egalitarian society, but it calls for wisdom. We need to be extremely careful in the way and manner to resolve this issue, most especially, utterances from all parties concerned”

“Yes, government has issued policy statements and that policy does not go down well with certain religion, but despite that, we still have to look at ways and manners to dialogue, so that peace would reign”

“My own concern is that we have serious crisis and issues in the community before now, because I am from Ijagbo, but things are getting back to normal and suddenly this unfortunate crisis happened again, to the extent that, people of different religion are now suspicious of one another, and people could not go out freely”

“My advise to government is that, peace is sacrosanct. The government will succeed where there is peace. They should consider views of both group and reach acceptable resolution in a very record time. Innocent students are the one loosing at moment. Timing is essential in getting it resolved”

Expressing his appreciation to the old students of the school, Alhaji Ibiyeye Rasaq who happened to be one of the 22 celebrated Teachers, said “being recognized and appreciated by students we used to beat in those days is very awesome to me and all awardees”

Talking on crisis in the school, Alhaji Rasaq said “it is very sad. To me, I just believe that, the issue of religion should not cause crisis, because nobody can defend God. It is pathetic that it led to closure of the school. I want to appeal to the government that for the sake of our students, the leaders of tomorrow, they should please look for amicable resolution to the dispute and let students resume back to school”

Meanwhile, the state government as a part of efforts to solve the crisis, in a statement signed by the chief press secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, announced a government delegate to Ijagbo to persuade both parties in the Hijab question to embrace peace and respect government’s lawful directive, led by the secretary to the state government Professor Mamman Saba Jibril.

In another effort, the state government also at the weekend announced an advisory body, to promote religious interaction, understanding and harmony between the two principal faith communities in state, headed by Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahya Ndanusa.

Edited by Felix Ajide