Lawyers exchange words as court reserves judgement on Hijab case

Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola

Muslim and Christian lawyers engaged in verbal war before Justice Jide Falola of an Osun State High Court, Osogbo, over the litigation on the use of Hijab by Muslim female students in public schools on Friday.

The case was instituted by Osun state Muslim Community against Osun State Government, seeking the order of the court to allow Muslim female use hijab in public school before the state Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) joined the suit.

The argument started yesterday when the Counsel representing Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria, Akin Akintoye, on the invitation of the court, told the court that the hijab case came up when the insurgency was gathering momentum, noting that the trend of suicide bombing has now attracted international concern.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is considering to ban the wearing of hijab in the public, urging the court to dismiss the application of the applicant and disallow use of hijab.

In a swift reaction, lead-Counsel to Muslim lawyers, Mr. Odedeji Qoseem, urged the court to call Akintoye to order, saying  “it is injustice and failure to accord people their fundamentally given right that brings enemity and hatred in the society.

He noted that the applicants have chosen the rule of law to ventilate their grievances, wondering why his colleague was linking terrorism to the present case.

According to the Muslim lawyer, there has not been any report that the president has banned or planning to ban the use of hijab, as he explained that “only the issue of face veil was raised and is not applicable in the present case because the applicants are not praying for the use of veil by students.

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“If some students commit exam malpractices by writing something in their pants, can we because of that ban others from wearing pants again.

“Nigeria has not banned the use of Hilux Van despite that some terrorists use the Van to commit the crime,” he submitted.

He urged the court to allow Muslim female students use their hijab for fairness and equity sake and in accordance with their religion doctrine.

The presiding Judge, Justice Jide Falola, before his ruling, maintained that challenges before education system are larger than fighting over how students appear in school.

He said cultists are now in primary school while the report of rape, exam malpractices, failure, among others have crippled education system.

Justice Falola said “I want to castigate the government because it is indecision of the past and present government that allows continuation of cases like this.

Recalling the crisis the case has caused in the past, Justice Falola advised the parties to discuss and resolve the issue and file terms of the settlement before the judgment.

He thereby adjourned the case indefinitely for judgment.

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