The International School Ibadan, the 55-year old mixed school owned by the University of Ibadan has been shut with immediate effect.
The closure of the secondary school established in 1963, followed the unprecedented appearance of some pupils who adorned hijab, against what the school’s management prescribed as the school dress code.
Consequently, the management ordered the school closed till further notice to ward off a any crisis.
Some parents under the aegis of International School Muslim Parents’ Forum, in a letter received on November 9, 2018 and signed by one Abdurrhaman Balogun (chairman) and Bilikis Badiru (secretary) and sent to the principal of the school, Mrs. Phebean Olowe; and the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Prof. Abideen Aderinto, stated that it wanted to “put the school management on notice of this resolution on the rights of our female children to commence the use of hijab from this academic session of 2018/2019.”
The forum argued that: “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.”
However, both school assembly and classes were cancelled when pupils wearing hijab were sighted on the school premises as early as 7am.
Speaking on the development, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof. Abideen Aderinto, who doubles as the Chairman Court of Governors of the school, stated that the “jungle approach” being used by the parents would not be tolerated.
Aderinto, who said the school is a private school and not run with “any kobo” from government, stated that the school has rules governing dress codes, which all parents agreed to.
Aderinto explained that while he received the letter on the 9th of November, 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.
“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 exprienced 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.”
Balogun, who spoke for the International School Muslim Parents’ Forum, expressed surprise that the school was shut down because of female students who wore hijab to school, in line with their constitutional rights.
He maintained that the Forum would continue to forge ahead with their agitation until “their daughters are allowed to wear hijabs.”