The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the recent ban of hijab by the principal of the University of Ibadan International School (UIIS), Mrs. Phebean Olowe as an invitation to chaos and a threat to girl-child education.
MURIC in a statement signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday said, through such act, Mrs. Phebean is retarding the progress of UIIS in the 21st century.
“We are surprised that at a time when the whole world is struggling to boost girl-child education and reduce the number of out-of-school children, a female school administrator of her status is issuing anti-girl-child education directives.
“It is such a shame. Britain and America are encouraging the wearing of hijab in their schools but here we find a school administrator constituting herself into a clog in the wheel of progress, particularly in the area of girl-child education. Can this be attributed to lack of exposure? This principal is in dire need of a sabbatical leave outside Nigeria.”
MURIC added that it was wrong for the principal to have taken such sensitive decision without consulting parents.
“Religion is a sensitive matter. She must have a hidden agenda otherwise she would not have made such an attempt in view of the proliferation of hijab stories in the news. No school administrator worth the salt will issue an anti-hijab instruction in view of recent events around the country unless such a principal is from Mars or Mercury,” MURIC stated.
The group however applauded the parents who participated in the peaceful protest at the school gate, adding that such protest is an extension of dialogue where there are grievances to address.
MURIC therefore appealed to the management of the University of Ibadan (UI) to intervene in the matter adding that the authorities should not allow administrative shenanigans and educational charlatans to turn its International School into a centre for religious apartheid.
“We call on the school principal to face reality. Nigeria belongs to all of us. We should learn to co-exist. Muslims will no longer accept a situation whereby everything is designed to suit Christians and Muslims are left to choose between accepting the Christian way of life or abandoning education, ” MURIC added, while urging the principal to resign if she cannot tolerate the sight of female Muslim children in hijab.
In a related development, MURIC has applauded Lagos State Government for approving the use of hijab by female Muslim students in all public schools in the state.
In a terse statement issued by Prof. Akintola, yesterday, the group said, “Though belated, it is better to be late than never to do it at all. The wind of change is sweeping across the South West and no state government wants to be caught within the camp of reactionaries.
“We call on all government agencies and employers of labour to note this development. It is a monumental decision. The patience exhibited by Lagos Muslims has paid off. A quiet and peaceful revolution is ongoing and it is in the best interest of all men and women of goodwill to join the train before it leaves the station so that they may not be left behind.”