Hijab crisis: Security tightened in Osun schools as Christians insist on church garments

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Following the dramatic appearance of some Christian pupils in church garments, choir robes and other religious vestments in some public schools in Osun on Tuesday, in protest against the judgment of a state High court permitting female Muslim students to wear hijab during school hours, armed security operatives have taken over these schools in order to forestall possible break down of law and order.

Uba Group

The heavy presence of the stern-looking security operatives at these Christian mission-founded schools on Wednesday, caused panic among the pupils in the schools.

At Baptist Girls High School, Adeeke area in Iwo, some armed policemen and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, were sighted at the entrance of the school, while their other vehicles were also stationed around the school.

It was the same scenario at the Baptist High School in Osogbo.

But at the Baptist High School in Iwo, some students who wore church garments to the school on Wednesday were prevented by security operatives from gaining entry to the premises. 
The development almost led to a confrontation between the security operatives and some members of CAN, who insisted that the pupils be allowed access to the school.
It took the quick intervention of the monarch of the town, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi to avert what could have led to a crisis in the ancient town.
A teacher at the Baptist High School in Osogbo, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent on Wednesday that a male Muslim student was punished in the school for wearing islamic trousers to school.

Although the female Muslim students who attended classes wearing hijab were shocked to see their Christian counterparts dressed in church garments and choir robes, they sat together peacefully while the lessons lasted on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some traditional worshippers whose children attend public schools have threatened that their own wards, too would soon be attending classes in different regalia such as those of masquerades, since the wearing of the authorised school uniform has been abused.

Despite the insistence of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) in the state that their wards would continue to wear church garments and choir robes to school, the association has also resorted to prayer and fasting against the implementation of the court judgment allowing use of hijab in public schools in the state.

During a special prayer session held at the Dominion Hall of the Osun Baptist Conference, Gbodofon, Osogbo on wednesday, CAN urged Christians in the state to pray and fast against what it described as attempt by the Osun government to islamise the state through its policies.

Speaking with The Point correspondent after the prayer session, the Vice Chairman of CAN in the state, Pastor Moses Ogundeji said the prayers were meant for peace and ‎for God to nullify “anti-Kingdom laws and dealings with satanic forces that are ‎tormenting the state in the past few weeks.”

Ogundeji said the prayer was organized by the State CAN Chairman, Reverend Elisha Ogundiya and was presided over by himself. 

While calling for the return of Christian mission schools in the state ‎to their original owners, Ogundeji said: “We don’t want crisis in Osun because of ‎hijab issue. Already, the state is being oppressed by the demonic ‎spirit and evils, as well as the country at large”

Apparently reacting to the warning handed down by Governor Rauf Aregbesola  that any student found disobeying school rules and regulations risked expulsion, Pastor Ogundeji said the state government should be prepared to expel all the students in public schools.The cleric said: “In as much as we are trying to resolve the crisis ‎with prayers, if government should expel any Christian pupil or student,‎ it means all the students in public schools would be sent packing,

“The country has no rest from the hands of Boko ‎Haram, Niger Delta avengers, Fulani herdsmen. Therefore we pray for peace ‎in Osun and for the state to be free from the shackles of evil and‎ oppression.”

On the presence of security operatives in public schools and at the venue of the prayer session, the CAN Vice Chairman described the development as embarrassing.‎

Pastor Ogundeji‎ said although, the judgment would be appealed, Christian pupils would continue to wear church garments to their various schools, not minding the state governor’s  threat to expel them.

But the Muslim Community in the state has maintained that female Muslim students would not stop wearing hijab to public schools, since the court has ruled in their favour.