Violence erupted on Wednesday in Ilorin, Kwara State capital after the state government reopened 10 schools shut last month over the use of hijab by Muslim female students.
Christians and Muslims not pleased with the situation went into a clash at Baptist Secondary School as they pelted themselves with stones.
Residents claim that the Muslims are angry over the refusal of Christian leaders to allow usage of Hijab by Muslim students. The situation grew worse as angry Christian and Muslim faithfuls threw various objects including stones and plastic chairs at themselves with security operatives struggling to control the situation.
The school reopening was announced on Tuesday night by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Kemi Adeosun.
Mrs Adeosun said the government was convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijab (face covering) in public schools would lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijaab had long been adopted in all of the northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States.
“As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily”, said Mrs. Adeosun.
The Kwara State government had earlier in February shut 10 grant-aided schools as the controversy surrounding the use of the head covering was yet abated.