Appeal court reserves judgement on Hijab ban

A panel set up by the Court of Appeal to determine weather students in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State should be allowed to put on Hijab (Muslims headscarf) with their school uniforms has reserved its judgement.

At the appeal hearing on Friday, May 27 in Lagos, the presiding justice,  Justice A.B. Gumel asked parties involved in the case to update their defence documents.

Other Justices in the five-man panel set up by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa are Justice M. Fasanmi, Justice A. Jauro, Justice J.S. Ikejegh and Justice I. Jombo Ofor.

The panel subsequently told the parties that the date for the judgement would be communicated to them. ‎

freedom to wear Hijab 

Co-operation of parties

Before reserving the judgement till further notice, Justice Gumel had earlier sought the cooperation of parties in the case.

The case is between Asiyat Kareem (Minor) suing through Mr. AbdulKareem Raji; Mariam Oyeniyi through Mr. Sulaimon Oyeniyi; and  Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit, and  Lagos State Government (LASG) and others, who were the respondent.

It would be recalled that Justice Amina Augie earlier affirmed that granting of right to Muslim students to wear Hijab in Lagos State schools needed constitutional interpretation.

Justice Augie while granting the right to hear a case on the Hijab matter on May 3rd, asked the appellants to write the President of Appeal Court to set up a full court (of five justices) to hear the case.

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In the case, the appellants want the judgement of the lower court to be reversed, while the defendant wants it to be upheld.

It would also be recalled that in a High Court ruling, Justice Grace Modupe Onyeabo on October 17, 2014  ruled against the use of Hijab because of the “secularity” of Lagos State.

Freedom to wear Hijab 

‎Meanwhile, the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit has said that students in public primary and secondary schools should be compensated with freedom to wear Hijab as Nigeria celebrates Children’s Day.

The Amir (President) of the MSSN Lagos, Mallam Saheed Ashafa, said this in a press statement to  commemorate 2016 Children’s Day.

As a means to show the uniqueness of children, Ashafa said that youth conferences held in all the 44 area councils in Lagos.

This, he said, the society organised to enlighten children on how they could positively impact the Nigeria’s economy. ‎

He pleaded with government at all levels to ensure that Muslim female students were not harassed or punished for exhibiting their constitutional right to wear Hijab.

Ashafa said, “Investment in children and education should not be toiled with by government at all levels. Our nation owes children a lot and they do not deserve the hardship and denials they are currently going through. It’s pitiable that children in Nigeria are wrongly exposed to social vices and unnecessary attacks.

On a day like this, the greatest gift anyone can present children is to ensure their rights are protected, especially right to freedom of religion. Celebrating Children’s Day without granting their right to wear Hijab in Lagos State is a charade, partial and an abuse on the future generation of the country.”‎

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