Nigeria's Kwara state on Tuesday reaffirmed its stance of allowing Muslim girls to wear the hijab in public schools, saying it will not tolerate any form of religious bigotry at educational institutions.
In a statement, the State Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Sa'adatu Modibbo-Kawu, said the government met with Muslim and Christian leaders over the headscarf issue in the state.
“The policy statement of the Kwara state government allowing willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear the hijab in all public schools, including grant-aided ones, is binding,” said Modibbo-Kawu.
“This conforms to the judicial pronouncements of the courts of law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Calling on both Muslim and Christian leaders to allow peace to reign in the state, she said: "There is freedom of religion in Nigeria. Thus, our Muslim children can wear the hijab in schools."
The government announced last year that it would take a decision so that Muslim female students can wear the hijab in all schools in Kwara.
While Muslims welcomed the decision, Christians opposed it.
After Muslim and Christian religious leaders failed to reach an agreement over the use of the hijab by female Muslim students attending schools, 10 public schools in Kwara were temporarily closed on March 8, 2021.
At least five people were injured in a clash that broke out between the two groups because a female Muslim student was prevented from entering one of the schools that was reopened on March 17./aa