Following loss of live and property in a protest against violation of students’ rights to hijab in Oyun Baptist High school, Ijagbo, in Oyun local government area of Kwara State, as a result of refusal of administrators of the school to follow government laid down rules and regulations and multiple court judgements, a leading Pro Democracy group, Kwara Must Change has called on the Kwara State government to rename all government funded faith based schools to end ownership tussle on the schools.
The group also said that, government inability to enforce its own rules and regulations, aswell as multiple court judgements portrayed it as weak, because those violating the rules are its staff, being paid by public funds, who must face consequences of violation of government rules and regulations.
In a statement by Convener of Kwara Must Change, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the group explained that, no religious sentiment or bias should sepercede the constitution of Nigeria or the Human Rights of any citizen and going forward, no individual or group of individuals should be allowed to impose their ideas of law and rights on others, against the dictate of a properly constituted court of justice.
Hamzat explained that,
“For some time now, kwara state govt has been trying to handle the issue of discrimination against students with hijab in some schools, but resistance to laid down rules and regulations have persisted, even against multiple court judgements”.
“It is clear, from various evidences that government owned all faith based schools, since 1974 when they took over the funding and management of the schools, but due to respect for the founding fathers of those schools, they decided to retain their original names, a decision that is now causing the misperception and confusion, leading to loss of live in a recent protest” he said.
Hamzat maintained that, considering the persistent crisis in those schools, and the outright refusal to adhere to laid down rules and regulations, including multiple court judgements, what is expected of government, as a means to permanent solution is to rename all faith based schools to ensure names of the schools become secular, rather than the faith based name currently in use.
He concluded that, immediately the schools are renamed, the faith based perception will be removed and the issue of violation of laid down rules and regulations can be adequately addressed, adding that those who violate court judgements should be charged for contempt of court.