Many people were reportedly injured on Wednesday in Ilorin following the renewed hostility between some Muslims and Christians over the hijab crisis rocking the state.
This is coming on the heels of the state government’s directive on Tuesday evening ordering the 10 affected schools involved in the hijab controversy to reopen Wednesday for academic activities.
But the resumption, however, snowballed into a dangerous situation leading to the throwing of missiles that led to several injuries from both sides.
Some of the victims, who had hitherto engaged themselves in a war of words, were seen with blood on their heads and their uniforms while efforts were being made to get them treated.
The situation, however, became worse at Baptist Secondary school, Surulere and ECWA school, Oja Iya, both in the Ilorin metropolis, as law enforcement agents, who had been drafted to forestall any breakdown of law and order, had to disperse the Muslims and Christian leaders who pelted each other over the development, to return normalcy.
It was reported that the law enforcement agents had to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the rampaging crowd from the scenes.
Speaking on the development, the principal of Baptist Secondary School, Surulere, Mrs Bankole J. A told Daily Trust that “both Christians and Muslims started throwing stones at each other”, adding that so many people were injured during the incident.
She however sued for peace over the issue.
Also, one of the Muslims teachers, who refused to give his name, said they were turned backed from the school in the morning, adding that the Christians were adamant that they will never allow the use of hijab in their school despite the court judgment and government’s position.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Ajayi Okansanmi (SP), told Daily Trust that: “After the announcement by the government, the commissioner of police had deployed police officers because we envisaged that there could be misbehaviours from any group and thank God for the deployment because there were a few hot words and some were throwing stones but our professionalism was brought to the fore and peace was restored, Okasanmi said.
The affected schools in the hijab controversy are C&S College Sabo Oke; St. Anthony College, Offa Road; ECWA School, Oja Iya; Baptist Secondary School, Surulere, and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.
Others are CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam road; St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo Oke; St. John School, Maraba; St. Williams Secondary School, Ibrahim Taiwo Isale; and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.
Announcing the reopening on Tuesday in a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary Kemi Adeosun, the schools were asked to reopen on Wednesday, even as the government’s peacebuilding efforts continues.