By Atanda Adebayo
Some parents of students at the University of Ibadan International School on Wednesday stormed the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Academics, University of Ibadan, Yinka Aderinto, to protest against Monday’s indefinite closure of the school.
The school, which has been engulfed in a crisis over the use of Hijab by female Muslim students, was on Monday closed indefinitely by its management.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Monday closure was due to protest by some parents who insisted their female wards be allowed to wear hijab.
The protest on Wednesday was by parents opposed to wearing of hijab by female students.
The protesting parents, under the umbrella of “Concerned Parents of Students of the International School, University of Ibadan” gathered at the UI admin block as early as 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday, displaying placards.
They also condemned the actions of some parents who insisted on the use of Hijab by female Muslim students.
The aggrieved parents visited the DVC and submitted their protest letter in which they called for the school to be reopened.
They also demanded adequate security in the school especially as students were about to start internal and external examinations.
The parents, in the protest letter obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday evening, added that the current dress code in the school was devoid of religious coloration.
They maintained that the dress code was good and sufficient enough to fulfil their moral obligations to their wards.
The protesting parents, in the letter signed by the trio of Olalekan Thanni, Babaawo Abe and Olusola Aleshinloye, said, “We wish to state that the current dress code/uniform of the students of ISI, which has been in use since inception (about 55 years ago), has no religious coloration, is good enough and sufficient to fulfil our moral obligations to the children.
“It should not be a subject of discussion out of the jurisdiction of the constituted Board of Governors as done by this Muslim Parents Forum.
“The unfortunate events of the past one week have serious implications on learning, psyche and social environment in the school.
“For instance, it is obvious that the divisive action like the religious colouration of the school uniform may promote discrimination and foster disunity.
“While these Muslim parents appear comfortable with confrontation, strife and violence, we wish they could be helped to realise that this stance is injurious to the psyche of children.
“We all owe our children the responsibility of raising them up as law abiding citizens, who have utmost respect for constituted authority and do all to uphold same and not otherwise, under whatever guise”.
Mr Aderinto, while receiving the protesting parents, promised to ensure that the matter is resolved peacefully.
He, however, appealed to all sides in the crisis to exercise restraint and avoid words or actions that may further worsen the crisis.
The hijab controversy in the UI School is part of a wider controversy surrounding its use in South-west states.
The Lagos State government recently approved the use of hijabs in public schools following an appeal court judgment.
Similar debates and court cases also occurred in Osun State.
Pro-hijab advocates say hijab ban is a violation of the Nigerian constitution on freedom of religion and a violation of the girl-child’s right to wear decent clothing. Opponents argue it incessantly brings religion into schools that should otherwise be secular.