There was confusion at Baptist High School, Iwo, Osun State on Tuesday as some pupils shunned their uniforms and wore choir gowns, white garments, Islamic apparel and other unconventional dresses to the school.
Although no group or individual could be identified as the mastermind of the bizarre dress code by the pupils, there were, however, conflicting reasons for the behaviour.
While some people said the unconventional dresses were a way of registering dislike for the same uniform introduced by the government for all schools in the state, others said some Christians who were opposed to wearing of hijab in schools founded by Christian missionaries orchestrated the drama.
The suit instituted on the issue of hijab wearing to school is still pending before an Osun State High Court.
But Tuesday confusion reportedly became more pronounced at the assembly ground as the pupils could not listen to their teachers because they were busy lining up themselves along religious lines.
A female pupil, who was dressed in a purple gown usually worn by the choir in the Baptist church, was said to have led Christian students in gospel praises, while her Muslim counterpart dressed in hijab was seen hollering “Allau Akbar” and singing praises to Allah from the same platform simultaneously.
It was learnt that although many other pupils appeared in the government-approved uniform, a few ones who are neither Christians nor Muslims wore clothes with the insignia of their religious beliefs, making the atmosphere in the school chaotic.
The confusion was said to have continued in the classrooms as pupils sang discordant tunes. The confusion, it was gathered, started on Monday and continued on Tuesday morning.
The teachers were said to be helpless in controlling the pupils due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The Principal of the school, identified simply as Mr. Arowolo, told PUNCH Metro that that the issue had been reported to the appropriate authorities for action.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Sunday Akere, said the government had been informed of the development and had sent officials of the Ministry of Education to the school on a fact-finding mission.
The Christian Association of Nigeria in the state had protested against the wearing of hijab to schools founded by Christians, describing it as an attempt to wipe away the heritage bequeathed to them by the early missionaries.
But the Joint Muslim Action Forum, which is an umbrella body of all Islamic groups in the state, issued a statement, condemning the protest.
The statement was issued by the JOMAF Coordinator, Alhaji Kola Uzamat and Secretary, Mr. Qaasim Odedeji.
The group described the prevention of hijab-wearing students from Christian schools as an act of religious intolerance which would not be allowed in the state.
The group accused Christians of attempting to sabotage Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s policy which it said was introduced to address the decay in the education sector in the state.
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