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JUST IN: Kwara govt. approves use of hijab in public schools

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The Kwara State Government has approved the use of hijab in all public schools in the state and directed the 10 schools it shut last week to reopen on Monday.

This was disclosed in a statement released by the Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Mamma Jibril, Thursday evening.

Recall that the government, last Friday, directed the temporary closure of 10 grant-aided secondary schools in Ilorin, the state capital, pending the resolution of the controversy on the use of hijab (head covering).

The schools are C&S College, ST. Anthony College, ECWA School, Surulere Baptist Secondary School, Bishop Smith Secondary School, CAC Secondary School, St.

Barnabas Secondary School, St. John School, St. Williams Secondary School and St. James Secondary School.

At the meetings held with government, leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities refused to shift ground.

While the Muslim leaders insisted their students should be allowed to use the head covering in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution, their Christian counterparts demanded respect for the ‘religious background’ of the schools.

Resolution

However, according to its statement on Thursday, the state government said it has considered all the submissions, the education law of the state and prevailing court judgments.

The government said it has paid particular attention to the ‘declaratory’ nature of the subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and their purports.

“Consequently, the government hereby acknowledges and approves the right of the Muslim schoolgirl to wear the hijab, and directs the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to come up with a uniform hijab for all public/ grant-aided schools, which will be the accepted mode of head covering in schools. Any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear same in public/grant-aided schools,” he said.

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Also, the government affirms the right of every child in public schools to freedom of worship. The government hereby directs that the affected 10 schools should reopen to commence classes on Monday 8th March 2021.

“Similarly, the government has carefully noted submissions regarding ownership of grant-aided schools and related issues. While the status of these schools is the subject of judicial determination, this and other related matters will soon be subjected to a technical committee to advise accordingly. The government reassures all members of the public that it will act in good conscience at all times.

“The government asserts that there is no victor or vanquished on the hijab question. It urges the two faith communities, especially the leaders, opinion moulders and media personalities to act with restraint and great responsibility in their public utterances and actions, and continue to live in peace and harmony with one another. The government commends all the thought and religious leaders on both sides for their forbearance, understanding and commitment to peace.”

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Crime

EXCLUSIVE: Abuja Schools Shut Down As Truckload Of Bandits Arrives In Border Town

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Despite assurances by the police authorities that the Abuja is safe, private schools in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday, hurriedly shut down their activities over fear of possible attack by kidnappers.

LEADERSHIP learnt that some schools hurriedly sent their students home when news got to them over 200 unidentified men suspected to be bandits were dropped by a truck in Sabon Wuse area of Niger State, a border town with Bwari, Abuja.

A source disclosed  that some private schools closed their schools with instructions to student to remain at home till further notice.
Some parents who do not want their identities revealed told our correspondent that the schools gave the instructions on various group WhatsApp platforms of the schools.

In the last two weeks, over ten persons have been kidnapped in Bwari area council with ransom of about N10million paid to secure their release.

Last week, about seven persons were kidnapped in Sabon Fulani area of the council and about N5 million ransom was said to have been paid.
According to residents, the fear was heightened following the report that over 200 unknown persons were dropped from a truck in Sabon Wuse area.
A parent who spoke to LEADERSHIP said, “We were asked to come for our children in their school before the time they were supposed to close for the day.
”I don’t know if they will be going to school tomorrow because we are still waiting for further directives from their school group WhatsApp platform”, the parent, who does not want her identity revealed said.

Another parent told LEADERSHIP that there was specific instruction for students to remain at home until further notice from the school authorities.
”My children came back home before the usual closing hour. When I enquired, the school said there were reports that kidnappers had surrounded Bwari area council and they (school authorities) do not want to be responsible for any kidnapped student, hence the closure of the school.
”As we speak, the school has been shut down indefinitely,” he said.

Some of the schools in Bwari area council that sent their students home yesterday for fear of possible attacks by kidnappers include De-Goopherwood Montessori School (close to Nigerian Law School), Glorious Bright School, Tundun Fulani and Asusi International School.

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A parent, who has children at Glorious Bright School said she got a call from the school management to come and pick their children before the normal closing hour for fear of attacks by kidnappers. Another parent who has children at De-Goopherwood Montessori School also confirmed that his children closed before the normal closing hour.

According to her, the students were asked to go home after information got to them that there is a likelihood of a breach of security in Bwari.
LEADERSHIP learnt that Veritas University, in Bwari, has been closed down and students sent home.

According to a senior lecturer of the school, who said she was not authorised to speak with journalist, ”The school was shut this morning by the vice chancellor. ‘We received a circular that everyone should vacate the school by 11am today (yesterday). ”

She said the students had been on holiday since last week but the academic staff and other staff were still going to school before the circular was sent out.
”Though the students were on holiday, we were still going to school until we got a circular today (yesterday) from the office of the Vice Chancellor that everyone should leave the campus”, the source said.

Another polytechnic in the area also sent its student out of the hostel.

A 200-level student of Dorben Polytechnic, Bwari, told LEADERSHIP that the school authorities issued a circular asking the students to vacate the hostels and that henceforth they will holding lectures online.

The student who studies public administration at the polytechnic said all the student promptly complied with the directive and quit the hostels.
About three days ago, the FCT Police Command faulted information that the territory was under possible the attack of Boko Haram terrorists. The command had, in a press statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Yusuf Mariam, said, “The attention of the FCT Joint Security Team has been drawn to a viral publication in the social media purporting that the ‘Federal Capital Territory is under the attack of Boko Haram Terrorists’.

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”The Joint Security Team of the FCT wishes to refute the mischievous publication targeted at creating palpable tension amongst the well-spirited residents of the FCT.”

We’re Monitoring Situation – Police

Meanwhile, following the social media report of invasion of Bwari axis of the FCT by suspected Boko Haram terrorist, bandits or kidnappers, the Nigeria Police have said they monitoring the situation.

Though the spokesperson of the police and the FCT PRO did not comment on the issue, a reliable senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that the police management had deployed tactical teams which are monitoring the situation, but that there is no cause for alarm.
According to the source, the situation is very critical and the police are not taking it lightly.

There were reports on social media of invasion of Bwari by a group numbering about 800.

This led to report of closure of schools around the area fearing abduction as has been the case in recent times.

27 Abducted Kaduna Students Regain Freedom
Parents and family members of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State can now heave a sigh of relief after they were released by their abductors yesterday.

According to the chairman of the parents committee, Malam Abdullahi Usman, 27 of the students who were in the captivity of the abductors were released unharmed.

He said two of the students had escaped on the day they were abducted but that the parents chose to keep mute in other not to jeopardize the chances of securing the release of the remaining students.

Earlier, 10 of the students were released in two batches of five each after it was reported that ransom was paid.
When asked whether ransom was paid for the release of the 27 students, Usman declined to speak on it, stressing that the parents worked tirelessly, including reaching out to prominent persons to assist towards their release.

“We are indeed thankful to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kaduna-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi among others for their roles towards the eventual release of the students.

“We also thank the journalists who helped to publicise our cries and worries, and Nigerians who encouraged and prayed with us for the safe release of our children. We are indeed grateful and pray that God will bless them all,” he said.

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The parents of the students had on Tuesday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja to protest the continued holding of their children in captivity and government’s apparent indifference over their abduction.

The students, 39 in all, comprising of 23 females and 16 males, were abducted on March 11, 2021 from their school premises. Two of the students were said to have escaped from their abductors leaving 37 of the students, out of which ten of them were released before the final release of the balance of 27.

Meanwhile, the students were taken straight to the Kaduna Police command headquarters in two 18-seater buses, accompanied by an ambulance and nurses.
They looked emancipated and one of them could hardly work and had to be helped and later rushed to the hospital.

In a short address, the Commissioner Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan, who spoke to newsmen at the police headquarters in company of the police commissioner, said details will be given about the students today.

“Yes we can confirm that the students have been released as you can see, but details will be made available on Thursday. They will be taken for proper medical checkup now,” he said.

Meanwhile the state government has confirmed that the Police Command had reported the release of the remaining students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Kaduna State.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the release of the 27 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, near Kaduna and congratulates their friends, families and the government and people of Kaduna State following the happy end to the saga.

“We are happy they have been released,” says the President.

“We express our deep appreciation to all the actors who contributed one way or the other to this happy outcome,” President Buhari said in a statement by his media aide,Garba Shehu, yesterday.

Credit Leadership Newspaper

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Education

Insecurity: Veritas University Abuja Shut Down

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Veritas Catholic University in Abuja shut down due to insecurity threat, a reliable source made this known on Twitter :

 

Veritas was founded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria through a resolution given at its March 2002 meeting in Abuja.

The University emphasizes strong moral values, self-reliance and the development of the students’ entrepreneurial capabilities for the social and economic benefit of the graduates and the Nigerian society.

OBSERVERS TIMES recall thagt Suspected bandits have attacked Greenfield University, a private university in Kaduna State, and kidnapped many students.

The bandits attacked the institution in the early hours of Wednesday.

PREMIUM TIMES could not verify the exact number of students kidnapped.

Greenfield University is located along the Kaduna–Abuja Highway, some few Kilometers to the Olam feed factory which is about 30km from Kaduna town.

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Education

Tension, As Bandits Threaten To Kill Remaining Students Abducted From Greenfield University

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Bandits have threatened to kill the remaining 17 students abducted from Greenfield University, Kaduna State.


Twenty-two students and a member of staff were abducted from the school campus along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on April 20 and within a week, five of them were killed.

In an interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA), monitored by our correspondent, a leader of the bandit group who identified himself as Sani Idris Jalingo, said if the Kaduna State Government or their families fail to pay a ransom of N100 million as well as provide them with 10 brand Honda motorcycles by Tuesday, the remaining students will be killed.
Jalingo said there were 17 students in his custody, including 15 females and two male students among them a grandchild of the late 18th emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, whom he identified as Hamza.


The bandit revealed that the families of the students have already raised and paid N55 million to them but said they had used the money in feeding the students.
He vowed that it was his final warning and should government or the students’ families fail to meet his demands, all the students will be killed.

“You are speaking with the abductors of Greenfield students. We heard the utterances of the Kaduna State Governor that he will not pay ransom to bandits to purchase additional arms.
Asked if he sees himself as a terrorist, Jalingo laughed and said: “I’m not but a food seeker.”

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Emphasising on his threat, the bandit said: “If they fail to bring N100 million and 10 brand new Honda motorcycles known as Boko Haram by Tuesday, I can assure you they will use trucks to evacuate the bodies of the remaining students.”
He warned security agencies not to waste their time planting trackers on the motorcycles, saying his members do not go to cities and therefore arresting them will be difficult.

 

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