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Hijab crisis: Kwara govt receives panel report, to set up interfaith dialogue

By Kayode Abdulazeez, Ilorin

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has received the report of the panel of inquiry on the Hijab question at the public-funded Oyun Baptist School, Ijagbo.

The governor also promised to convoke an inter-faith dialogue that will strengthen peace, tolerance and understanding among adherents of different faiths in the state.

Speaking during the ceremony, the governor said: “Like you have recommended, we will definitely commence interfaith dialogue while the government looks quickly into the report. From what you have said before we read the report, it is obvious you have done a thorough job,” AbdulRazaq said when he received the panel report from its chairman Dr Shehu Omoniyi Ibrahim at the Presidential Lodge Ilorin.

“We thank you very much. You have done a good job. It’s not an easy job. We do understand the sensitivity of the issues and we ensure to do what is right.”

AbdulRazaq assured the people of the state that the government would soon reopen the school for academic activities under a peaceful atmosphere.

“We have been eagerly awaiting the report. The government is in a hurry to reopen the school but we also want to make sure there’s peace within the community before that is done.”

Ibrahim, for his part, called on the government to institute a periodic interfaith dialogue or bi-annual interfaith convention to promote religious harmony in the state.

“We thank you sincerely for finding us worthy to handle this assignment. We strongly hope that this report will be a roadmap to peaceful coexistence in our public schools, not only on Hijab, but on other conflicting inter-faith matters,” he said, flanked by the co-chairman of the panel and Secretary General of Ijagbo Descendants Progressive Union, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo Fatola.

“We reviewed several reports of previous committees set up by the government on religious matters. We note with regret that the only point that could not be agreed upon is still the hijab issue. We scrutinised many past circulars, from the Ministry of Education to the chairman of SUBEB, on Hijab matters. We also noted that the issue of Hijab had been promoted to public discussion since 2007, and yet could not be resolved by previous governments”, he added.

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