The Oyo State Muslim Community on Wednesday appealed to the federal government and the National Assembly to intervene in the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of hijabs by female Muslim students at the University of Ibadan International School.
Recall that the International School of the University of Ibadan was shut following controversy over wearing of hijab to school by some of the students, who were reported to have being accompanied by their parents to the school.
However, in further reaction to the development, the Muslim Community, at a press conference jointly organised with Muslim Parents’ Forum of the school, declared that the issue must be urgently addressed.
They alleged that the management of the school was tampering with the constitutional rights of the female students of Muslim background.
The secretary general, Muslim Community of Oyo State, Ismail Busari, while addressing journalists, said there is an urgent need for the federal government, national assembly, state government and the authority of the University of Ibadan to intervene in the matter, before the issue escalates.
He explained that wearing of hijab by female Muslim students is a God-given right which is enshrined in the constitution. He noted that Muslims will not allow anyone to tamper with their rights, unchallenged.
“We are calling on (the) government, and those in positions of authority to intervene to ensure that this does not escalate. Hijab is a global phenomenon, it is a God-given right. It is our right. We have seen case of judges, nurses and even uniform women in other countries putting on hijab,” he said.
“We want the authority of (the) University of Ibadan to intervene. We want the government; the national assembly to come to the aid of the school, before it escalates. They are calling (for) anarchy. We want those in government to come before our God-given right is tampered upon,” he stated.
He reiterated further that they should desist from calling Muslim names and Muslims should not be labelled as terrorists again.
“Tell those victimising us to desist from victimising us. If Muslims can wear hijab in USA, Britain and other countries, we are Nigerians, our children should be allowed to wear hijab.”
The chairman, Muslim Parents’ Forum of the School, Abdulrahman Balogun, while speaking to journalists, added that the Muslim parents and their children have over the years, called for the use of hijab but all efforts to make it work have been turned down by the school management.
He also explained that several letters written to the management of the school on the issue are yet to be responded to.
“Here we are, we want you to hear our own side of the story. I am a parent; my children are in the school. They are profiling Muslim students separately. I have been to many countries; no one does that. Putting Muslims in a separate class and putting Christians in a separate class.
“We have written several letters to the principal but up till now they are yet to reply us. We have been suffering in silence.”
However, when journalists visited the school for reaction of the principal, Phebean Olowe, all efforts were unsuccessful as the principal was said to be in a meeting.
A gateman at the school, identified as John Mike, told journalists to leave the school premises following directive from the management that they, (journalists), should not go beyond the school gate.