The government of Kwara State says the use of veils in public schools is not mandatory as speculated in some quarters.
The clarification comes amidst the controversy that has trailed its recent approval of the use of veil popularly known as hijab adorned by female Muslim students.
Yesterday, Muslim and Christian parents engaged themselves in a bloody confrontation in one of the missionary schools said to be receiving grants from the government.
“It is important to clarify that the government is not imposing the hijab. It is not mandatory for all our schoolgirls to wear hijab,” Mamman Jibril, the secretary to the state government in a Wednesday statement.
“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,” Mr Jibril added.
He said preventing Muslim schoolgirls from putting on hijab 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 SSG 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,” he added.