Fifty pupils of LAUTECH International College (LICO), Ogbomosho, in Oyo State, were on Monday shut out of school for wearing hijab. This is happening a few months after some students of the International School, University of Ibadan (UI), were banned from coming to school because they wore hijab. The Muslim parents of the school had earlier requested for the school management’s permission for their children to wear hijab, but their request was declined.
The Muslim parents argued that they followed due process to ensure that the rights of their female children were not tampered with, but the Christian parents insisted that such inclusion in their uniform should not be introduced.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that among the 43 members of staff of the school, three are Muslims, while 40 who are Christians are opposed to the request. The school was established in 2004 by a former Vice Chancellor of UI, Prof. Salami (a Muslim), who appointed a Christian as chairman and secretary of the committee that set up the school.
According to a staff of the school who, when the school was established, there was no clear-cut mode of dressing in the school handbook and that the management deliberately postponed resumption date because there was information that the Muslim parents were planning to implement wearing hijab on their willing female children.
A parent said, “The mode of dressing is not written anywhere in our students handbook. When we arrived at the school premises, one of the teachers almost hit one of us with a big plank. We called on the authorities to intervene because Islam is a religion of peace. But we are going to ensure our willing children wear hijab. We are glad that the tenure of the chairman of the governing board expires on February 14, 2019.”
One of the Christian parents, Prof. Adeboyejo, told Daily Trust Saturday that the number of Christian staff of the school had nothing to do with the agitation to wear hijab because employment was based on merit.
Prof.Adeboyejo said the school was a private school which had its own governing board and was funded by parents.
He pointed out that the school had a tradition of sewing uniform for its pupils and parents were not allowed to do so.
Prof. Adebayo said, “The VC that established the school was also a Muslim and he didn’t ask for hijab. What many of us are saying is for them to follow due process. They went on their own, without telling management, sewed hijab and imposed it on the management. It is never done anywhere.”
The Muslim parents, after a peace meeting on Tuesday, issued a communique which they argued that “the school process is a continuum and nothing should retard the ongoing effort of the committee that has been put in place to address the issue of hijab.”
The concerned parents, in the communique signed by the duo of Mr. Ismaheel Adigun and Mr. AbdulRahman Elegbede, chairman and secretary respectively, appealed that the process relating to the use of hijab by willing female Muslim pupils of LAUTECH Staff School and LAUTECH International College be concluded in earnest.
In attendance at the meeting were the Chairman of the Governing Board of LAUTECH International College, Chairman of the Governing Board of LAUTECH Staff School, Chairman of Ogbomoso Parapo, Chairman of the PTA of LAUTECH Staff School, Chairman of the PTA of LAUTECH International College, Chairman of LAUTECH Security Committee, DSS Ogbomoso North Local Government, Principal of LAUTECH International College, Headmistress of LAUTECH Staff School, Representative of the LAUTECH Public Relations Unit and representatives of Muslim parents.
The Principal of the school, Ademola Animasahun, confirmed that normalcy had returned to the school after a peace meeting between the concerned parents and the school’s management.
Animasahun said, “We have called a stakeholders meeting and the issue has been resolved. We had a peace meeting on Tuesday and we have agreed to maintain status quo pending the time the governing board takes position on the issue. They will communicate to us as soon as they conclude their work. But for now, normalcy has returned to the school and we have been doing our normal activities.”