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Hijab: Hoodlums Attack C&S College in Ilorin

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There was tension in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Monday as violence erupted when hoodlums, suspected to be Muslim youths, invaded C&S College, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin, with cutlass and dane guns. The students of the college were also chased away.

The development however led to the deployment of men of the state civil defence, police, soldiers, State Security Service in order to avert total break down of law and order in the area.

Also, at Baptist Secondary school, Ilorin, some suspected Muslim youths were threw stones at officials of the school and security operatives deployed in the school.

During a visit to the college at about 11.30a.m Monday, the gate of the school was under lock and key, though teachers and staff reported for work.

The situation, however, turned chaotic and violent when some suspected Muslim youths attempted to forcefully open the gate of the school, in the presence of security operatives.

Appeal for calm by the Chairman, state Teaching Service Commission, TESCOM, Malam Bello, Abubakar who addressed the angry crowd, fell on deaf ears.

Shortly after his address, another violent clash broke out again following gunshots fired from inside Emmanuel Baptist Church, opposite C&S College Sabo-Oke and Apostolic church at about 12.10pm, while the churches were also pelted with stones and other objects.

The state government had on Friday ordered the 10 mission schools shut over hijab to resume classes to enable final year students prepare for their examinations.

But the Christian community vowed to defy the directive of government insisting that the use of hijab will not be allowed in their mission schools and also demanding the return of the schools to their original owners.

The pandemonum however spread to St Barnabas LGEA primary school and some churches in the area as people armed with cutlasses and broken bottles went on rampage.

The Christian community also mobilised its own forces to counter the attack in a bid to protect their people and property.

The state police command’s spokesman, Mr Okasanmi Ajayi, who was at the scene, told journalists that the situation was under control.

He confirmed that, aside the situation at the C&S College, Sabo Oke, normalcy had returned to the other nine mission schools involved in the hijab controversy, in the state capital.

Armed soldiers were later deployed in the area to restore peace and were still present till 2.26pm, when our correspondent left the scene.

Meanwhile, nine out of the 10 schools Monday opened classes partially amid tight security in the affected schools.

Only C&S college, Sabo-oke, Ilorin could not open as members of the Cherubim and Seraphim prevented the students from entering the college.

A visit by our correspondent to some of the schools showed that, students were on on ground to resume classes and Muslim students wore Hijab to the schools.

But the resumption of students at Baptist Secondary school, Surulere, Ilorin later turned violent as some suspected Muslim youths were said to have attacked some officials of the school and security operatives deployed.

The development however led the security operatives to shoot into the air in order to disperse their attackers.

The soldiers who pursued the suspected hoodlums from the gate of the school said they were creating problem around the school.

Speaking on the resumption of the students, the state chairman, Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) Alhaji Bello Abubakar said government was gradually achieving her aim just as some SS3 and other students resumed for lectures.

Also speaking, the President of First Baptist Conference, Reverend Victor Dada, said Christians will continue to legitimately reject the use of hijab in the school .

He called on the state government to return the school back to them.

He said no amount of intimidation can stop Christians from protecting their heritage.

Some parents who spoke with our correspondent said they will allow their children to start wearing white garment dresses to all grant aided Muslim schools should the government continue to force hijab on what they called grant-aided mission schools.