Protests by religious fanatics in Kwara State on Wednesday turned bloody over the use of veil, adorned by female Muslim students popularly known as hijab, in missionary schools.
The state government had announced the the reopening of missionary schools shut for preventing Muslim female students from putting on hijab. This was after it endorsed the use of the veil, a decision that did not augur well with Christians who own the school but receive grants from the government.
The opposers have continued to kick against the directive, saying since the matter is at the Supreme Court the governor lacked the legal basis to issue such a regulation.
At Surulere Baptist Secondary School, the protesters comprising of Christians and Muslims were demonstrating peacefully at the entrance of the institution before it degenerated into violence and hurling of stones with dangerous objects which injured many particularly at their foreheads.
Christians against hijab carried placards with inscriptions, “Give us back our schools,” “Enough of marginalisation.” On the other hand, there were Muslims with placards “Laila Ilalahu Muhammadu Rosululah” (There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah) inscribed on them.
The police dispersed the violent protesters with teargas and gunshots but not until they had damaged the school’s gate and signpost.
President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Victor Dada, told journalists that the state government did not respect the rule of law by deciding on a case already at the Supreme Court.
“What transpired this morning was simply because the government, led by Governor AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq, is not respecting the rule of law, and if the state government does not respect the rule of law, there will be chaos,” Dada threatened.
“The governor is making a pronouncement on a case that is before the Supreme Court, and judgment has not been given. As long as the state government doesn’t respect the rule of law, we will defend our property and our faith.
“We will not allow hijab in our school because this is a Christian mission school. Let Kwara State Government respect the rule of law,” Mr. Dada added.