THE Oyo State government, on Saturday, declared that it has not altered its policy on freedom of religion, urging residents of the state to discountenance recent attempts to misinterpret a statement from the office of the Special Assistant on Islamic Affairs on the wearing of Hijabs.
It added that the government of Governor Seyi Makinde would not tamper with the codes that have guaranteed religious freedom and harmony in the state, stating that the status quo regarding the matter as contained in a circular dated October 27, 2013, remains.
“The attention of the government of Oyo State has been drawn to the series of misleading headlines ascribed to a statement issued in commemoration of this year’s World Hijab Day observed on February 1, 2022.
“The statement in question, issued from the office of the Special Assistant to the governor on Islamic Affairs, intended to emphasise the essence of religious harmony, tolerance and freedom, which have remained the bedrock of the peaceful co-existence we all enjoy in Oyo State.
“It has, however, emerged that some sections of the media have misconstrued the statement to indicate a reversal of the existing and well-accepted government policy on the subject matter.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the government of Mr ‘Seyi Makinde will not tamper with the codes that have guaranteed religious freedom and harmony in our dear state over time and that is why it will continue to keep faith with the existing circular endorsed by the state government as far back as 2013.
“In accordance with the government circular letter dated October 27, 2013, the government of Oyo State through the Ministry of Education had resolved among other things as follows:
The government added that in Muslim named or faith-based public schools, the usage or wearing of hijab as part of the school uniform is allowed in accordance with Islamic tradition and religious belief of student who may wish to do so.
It stated further that in Christian named or faith-based public schools, the student’s uniform should be in line with established tradition of the school and Christian religion.
“In community-based public schools, the wearing of a common hijab or beret by female students is permissible. This is however optional for parents or students who wish to do so.
“The circular notified all school administrators to comply with the guidelines while adding that the circular letter was meant to complement all previous circulars on religious worship, tolerance, and activities in schools,” the statement said.