UI International School Shut Over Hijab Controversy
UI International School. Photo credit: Punch.

The International School located inside the University of Ibadan in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria, has been shut with immediate effect.

This followed the unprecedented appearance of some pupils who adorned hijab in the school on Monday, against what the school’s management prescribed as the school dress code.

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It was learned that the management of the school had earlier been put on notice by some parents under the aegis of International School Muslim Parents’ Forum that they were going to enforce the rights of their children to use hijab to school.

The parents, in a letter signed by Abdurrhaman Balogun and Bilikis Badiru, the Chairman and Secretary of the forum, told the Principal of the school, Phebean Olowe, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, Prof. Abideen Aderinto, that they have resolved to enforce the rights of their female children to commence the use of hijab from the 2018/2019 academic session.

The letter which was received November 9, 2018, said: “Hijab wearing for young Muslim girls, apart from the fact that it is part of their religious belief, is part of their God-given fundamental human right as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Reacting, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics of the school, stressed that the “jungle approach” being used by the parents would not be tolerated.

Describing the international School as a private one and not run with “any kobo” from the government, Aderinto said the school has rules governing dress codes, which all parents agreed to.

Giving an update on the issue, Aderinto said after receiving the letter from the parents, he held a meeting with the forum on Saturday for more than two hours, adding that he was shocked and disappointed that the parents could be “frustrating” efforts of the management at restoring the glory of the school.

Aderinto said: “I am the chairman of the Court of Governors and I am a proud Muslim.

“International School Ibadan is a private school. UI does not fund it. It is funded by the fees collected. It is unfortunate that this is coming up now.

“Even the Parents Teacher Association is not aware of the idea by this group. Indeed, some other Muslim parents expressed shock when they heard about this forum.

“Since its establishment in 1963, the school has not experienced any religious crisis and we want to guide against it.

“The Muslim and Christian students have a place to worship in the school. Whoever is desired to change the rules should go through the process.

“The teachers do not feel safe and so could not have taught anybody, because it is a strange development.

“I appeal to these people to stop their action and allow peace to reign in the school.

“It is even strange that this matter was not discussed at the Parents Teachers Association headed by another Muslim and lawyer, Mr Kazeem Olaniyan,” he added.

On his part, the Chairman of the Parents’ forum expressed surprise that the school was shut down because female students wore hijab to school in line with their constitutional rights.

Balogun, who spoke for the International School Muslim Parents’ Forum, maintained that the Forum would continue to forge ahead with its agitation until their daughters are allowed to wear hijab.