The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit says it will no longer tolerate harassment and discrimination of female Muslims on account of wearing hijab (head cover).
Addressing a press conference to commemorate the 2019 World Hijab Day, the society threatened to mobilise millions of its members to shutdown Lagos State if the harassment of students wearing hijab continues.
The Amirah (female head) of the MSSNLagos, Hajia Basheerah Majekodunmi, told journalists that female Muslim students have been facing the agony of harassment, assault, intimidation and discrimination for wearing hijab in different parts of the country.
Majekodunmi lamented that some of the students were slapped, embarrassed and subjected to emotional trauma for wearing hijab to schools.
She cited instances of flagrant disobedience of some public school authorities against a circular issued by the Lagos State Government on hijab and the judgement of the Appeal Court, favouring the use of hijab.
Despite these, the Amirah said female Muslim students were still facing tough times in many public schools, disallowing the students to wear the hijab.
“In the hands of government officials, especially teachers in public schools, our members are regular victims of physical and verbal assaults.
“The recent one being the slapping of a female Muslim student at Ikosi High School by an official of West African Examination Council (WAEC) for resisting to pull off her hijab.
“Other cases abound from Agbede Community Grammar School and Yewa Grammar School in Ikorodu, to Iba Estate Senior High School in Ojo.
“Before we got to where we are now on the issue of hijab, there were several legal engagements.
“The Appeal Court granted us all the reliefs we sought at the lower court and pronounced on our inalienable right to adorn the hijab not only in public secondary schools but in all spheres of education and life.
“In November 2018, the Lagos State Government issued a circular to all principals of public secondary schools instructing them to allow students, who want to wear the hijab on their uniforms do so.
“When the Lagos State Government issued the circular, we thought relief had come, but it is utterly unfortunate that some school authorities and some deviant teachers are working against the circular.
“Instead of obeying the circular, some school principals, vice principals and teachers feign ignorance of the approval of hijab in Lagos State and desperately began to harass and sometimes assault our members.
“We have constantly reported some of these cases to the government but the little result is seen and some have been taken up legally.
“We call on the government to caution its indiscipline, unlawful officials among its teaching workforce.
“If not, the entire Lagos State will wake up one day to witness an abrupt shutdown by millions of our members and sympathisers,” Majekodunmi said.
She also asked the WAEC to caution its members to stop violating Nigeria constitution and existing judgement that affirm the right to use hijab by female Muslim students.
She said: “We have got to a point that we are beginning to think that there is a connivance between the teachers and principals of some schools to frustrate Muslim students in our bid to practice our religion through the use of hijab.
“If this is the grand plan, In Sha Allah, they will fail.
“The illegal action against Muslim students wearing hijab has caused our members huge psychological trauma that some of them now feel hated and rejected in their own country.”
She remarked that MSSN and other Muslim groups were not asking the government for a favour but requesting that female Muslims should not be denied of their rights.
“We understand that there are a few cases in court, but let me assure you that the position of the constitution is clear – wearing hijab is a constitutional right.
“Let us not assume that allowing hijab is a favour to Muslims. No, it is not.
“We are only asking the government to respect the constitution of Nigeria by ordering their agents to stop victimising our students for wearing the hijab.
By our correspondent
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