Hijab Controversy: Kwara Police deny report on burning of churches, offices, advises media to always verify stories first

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The crisis over hijab wearing in Christian grant-aided missionary schools took a violent turn after scores of hoodlums allegedly vandalised churches, shops and schools in Sabo-Oke, Muritala Mohammed way and other areas of the metropolis, Ilorin.

Other places affected include Post Office, Surulere and Maraba where churches and Christian schools are located.

Reports gathered that it took the combined efforts of officers and men of the Kwara State Police Command, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Army to prevent the break down of law and order.

The hoodlums allegedly brandished machetes, cutlasses, bottles and other dangerous weapons, while marching through some roads in the metropolis sending fear and apprehension down the spines of residents of the areas.

Though the gate of the Cherubim and Seraphim College, Sabo Oke, Ilorin was securely locked, the hoodlums hauled stones and other dangerous missiles into the premises even with the presence of military operatives stationed at the entrance gate of the school.

The violence also spread to St. Barnabas LGEA primary school, Murtala Muhammad way, Ilorin and some churches in the area.

However, The Kwara State Police Command declined the report saying that no church or offices were vandalised nor were shops looted by protesters in the Ilorin metropolis.

In a statement by Police Public Relations Officer, Kwara State Command, SP Okasanmi Ajayi, he said: “The command wishes to debunk the story in its entirety, no single church was burnt, no shop was looted neither was any business facility closed down as a result of the hijab milieu.”

“The command has deployed adequate Policemen and other security agencies in all the schools/churches. The protests, which were restricted to the schools, have been peaceful all this while. Efforts by hoodlums to hijack the process was vehemently resisted by the police.

“The professional handling of the protests has been commended by all parties involved including the government”.

He noted that the commissioner of Police Kwara State Police Command, CP Mohammed Lawal Bagega, is calling on everyone and the media to support the command as usual, but must continue to verify their stories before going public as what the state needs now is a joint effort to sustain the peace and harmony Kwara State is known for.

“The command is also assuring members of the public of her readiness to protect all law-abiding citizens, while criminals will be arrested and dealt with following the law”.

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