By; BAYO AKAMO. Ibadan
The hijab crisis rocking the International School Ibadan (ISI) on Thursday assumed fresh dimension as parents of Muslim students in the school petitioned the National Human Rights Commission over alleged intimidation, molestation and harassment of their female Muslim students in the school.
In the petition copied the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) and other relevant agencies. jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Forum of Parents of Female students in School, Alhaji AbdukRahman Balogun and Mrs Bilikis Badru respectively emphasized that ” it is necessary to inform the DSS on the situation in the school which could degenerate into a breakdown of law and order in the University of Ibadan and Oyo State in general if not urgently challenged. “
The Muslim parents in the petition entitled “International School Ibadan Hijab Situation: Preventing a Looming Crisis”, pointed out that
“this flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of the girls to adorn the hijab especially outside the school premises was considered an affront on the collective sensibilities of the Muslims who have children in the school.”
” However, we calmed ourselves down thinking the principal was quoted out of context.It was therefore disturbing that the school principal through a staff of the account department, Mr. Odewale and a security guard, Mr. John Mike took the laws into their hands by harassing our daughters for adorning the hijab outside the school premises, several metres away from the school gate on 3rd July, 2019. Although, the girls were later allowed entry, but only after they have been thoroughly disgraced in front of their peers.” they said.
According to the petition “on 4th July, the situation became worse as the girls were thoroughly disgraced outside the school premises under the watchful eyes of the Chief Security Officer of the University of Ibadan, the school Vice Principal, Mr. Akintunde, Mr Odewale of the Accounts Department, hordes of security personnel from both the University and the school and some gun-wielding policemen. The matter was promptly reported to the leadership of the University of Ibadan Muslim Community, who swung into action by contacting the University Administration. This probably informed the decision of the school authority to relax their draconian posture on 5th and 8th July to a more sinister but less observable form of harassment”.
The Parents added, “On Saturday, 6th of July, her father, who is an academic staff of the University of Ibadan was also given a dose of the subtle harassment as a plain-clothe security official of the school was surreptitiously snapping his pictures while exiting the gates of the school, after picking his daughter at the end of extra class.
On 8th July, the devastating but subtle harassment continued with Mr. Omokunmi abandoning his Vice Principal duty and standing at the school gate to stalk and continuously cover the movement of the girl in question right from the gate to her class as well as other three Muslim girls. “
“We wish to state that we would not be liable for any breakdown of law and order that may result from the actions of overzealous elements who may want to use the opportunity presented by the matter to foment trouble within or outside the school premises.