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Security agents avert religious clash in Osun school

By The Citizen
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The timely intervention of security agents averted a clash among Christian and Muslim pupils at Baptist High School, Iwo, Osun State, on Friday. This is in continuation of the confusion that started on Monday over pupils wearing different religious uniforms to school.

Our correspondent learnt that some angry Christian parents went to BHS to protest the alleged prevention of their children from wearing Christian uniforms to the school.

An eyewitness told our correspondent that the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Iwo Local Government Area, Pastor Paul Olagoke, some pastors from Osun Baptist Conference and other members of CAN were in the school to prevent trouble.

They ensured that the pupils, who had earlier been prevented from entering the school because of the type of dresses they wore, were eventually allowed to go into the school.

The Secretary to Osun State Government, Moshood Adeoti,  was said to have visited the school to appeal to the aggrieved persons.

The SSG was said to have addressed the pupils and parents. But members of the Christian community were said to have insisted that the state government should disallow pupils from wearing  hijab to school in order to stop the rebellion by pupils from other religious backgrounds.

One of the clergymen who went to the school, Rev. Olawale Olarinre, said that they learnt that some Muslims had planned to hold Jumat prayer in the school on Friday, hence their move to mobilise Christians against it.

Speaking with our correspondent, Olarinre said, 'We were informed in the morning that some persons were preventing Christian pupils wearing religious dresses from entering the school.

'We also heard that some Muslims wanted to hold Jumat prayer at Baptist High School today (Friday) for the first time and we mobilised Christians to stop it. But before we got there, security agents had dispersed them.

'We will not allow hijab in our school and that is our stand. The whole Christian community is against this, we have the support of the Osun Baptist Conference and our national president.'

Olarinre said that the SSG gave an order that no student should be found in the school by 1 pm, which is the time for Jumat prayer.

The cleric said they were happy to have achieved their aim of preventing Jumat prayer  from holding in the school.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state, Mr. Ayo Olowe, confirmed that security agents prevented the situation from degenerating into violence.

The protest against wearing of hijab in schools founded by Christian missionaries had led to disagreement between Christians and Muslims.

The National Publicity Secretary of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Muibi Adebanjo, had said  in a statement that  CAN's action of preventing pupils from wearing hijab in schools could trigger religious crisis in the state.

He said, 'We detest this act of religious intolerance and protest against Muslim children wearing hijab to their newly allocated schools.

'The Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria wishes to remind CAN that the issue of hijab wearing is the fundamental rights of any Muslim child and it cannot be tampered with. The actions of the CAN on the issue is capable of igniting religious crisis in the state that is currently enjoying peaceful coexistence among adherents of various religions.