Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq says the decision by his administration to allow students to wear hijab in grant-aided mission schools was done in good faith.
He made this known in a statement on Tuesday by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye while reacting to violence that happened on Monday in Ilorin, the state capital.
The governor said his administration’s decision to allow students to wear hijab was based on consultations, meetings, brainstorming, and dispassionate weighing of policy options.
He condemned the attacks on churches, schools, and shops, attributing the sad incident to fifth columnists who are bent on causing violence in the state.
Abdulrazaq, however, hailed leaders of religious bodies for their understanding and leadership in the last few days.
The statement reads: “We took that decision in good faith and in the interest of all.
“I swore to an oath to protect every Kwaran. This oath includes looking at the bigger picture and doing everything to prevent a crisis before it occurs.
“I acknowledge the apprehension from the Christian and Muslim communities. Having held dozens of meetings with thought leaders from both sides in the last four weeks, I am convinced that beneath the tensions and misgivings around the hijab decision are old wounds that must be healed.
“I assure Kwarans that we will take steps to address the concerns raised by faith communities. In doing so, a huge dose of understanding, selflessness and patriotism will be required. Going forward, we will need leaders from both sides to spread message of love, accommodation, patience, peace and mutual respect.
“Notwithstanding their varied positions, I am proud of the level of restraints and statesmanship shown by our religious leaders. I commend them and reassure them that we will always be fair and courageous in taking decisions for sustainable peace, and will be willing to listen to their concerns.
“The starting point will be the reconstitution in the coming days of the interfaith committee to further build confidence as well as provide templates to steadily resolve issues of mutual concerns.
“I hail security agencies for their professionalism and their sticking to strategic patience jointly agreed upon. This has helped to prevent loss of lives and property, while keeping crisis merchants in check. I urge parents to speak to their children to stay away from trouble. Any attempt to take advantage of the situation to foment trouble will be met with maximum punishment prescribed by the law. ”