A nine-year-old JSS1 female student, Aisha AbdulAkeem, has instituted a legal tussle against the Ogun State Government, seeking redress against the violation of the rights of her daughter, Aisha.
Also joined in the suit before the Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta, are the state Ministries of Education and Justice as well as the Principal of the Gateway Junior Secondary School.
In the suit, filed by her father, Muhammed AbdulAkeem, Aisha alleged that she was almost killed by her teacher for using hijab (Muslim female head-cover) on the school uniform in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The father claimed that two public schools in Ogun state, St. Peters and Gateway Junior School, also refused to allow his daughter to put on Hijab (female Muslim head-cover), after paying stipulated school fees.
In the suit, Abdul-Akeem explained that the teachers and principals of both schools insisted that his daughter must remove her hijab if she wants to be a student of the schools.
The complainant is demanding payment of N1million as a damaging fee from the defendants, saying Aisha’s fundamental human rights were violated.
When the case came up for a mention, counsel to a pupil, Olusoji Oduntan, sought the adjournment of the case, to enable him to study the counter affidavit filed by the defence counsel.
He also accused the defence counsel of using tactics to delay the proceedings.
Oduntan, however, demanded a N50,000 cost from the defence counsel as delay fee in filling the counter affidavit.
In a counter-reaction, the defence counsel, T. M. Sodipo, denied the allegation of trying to delay the hearing.
She said that she rather wanted the court to proceed on a fast hearing on the case, saying they got the suit late.
The Presiding Justice Bamgbose Alabi, however, adjourned the case to Jan. 8, 2019 for hearing.
Earlier before the suit, AbdulAkeem had narrated to newsmen, how his daughter, was almost killed by her teacher for using hijab (Muslim female head-cover) on the school uniform.
He alleged that two teachers of the Gateway Junior Secondary School, Abeokuta forcefully removing the head-cover off the under-aged daughter.
He claimed that in the process of the forceful removal, the two teachers almost killed his daughter as they keep dragging the hijab from her head.
“Just like other children, Aisha sat for the school entrance examination and was offered admission into secondary school.
“She was, however, welcomed with hatred, malice and denial just because she wears hijab.
“At St Peter’s College, Olomore, a teacher threatened that she must never come to the school on the account of her hijab; hence, the need for me to follow her to the school to confirm.
“The school principal said there was a memorandum of understanding between the government and the missionary that hijab would not be allowed in Christian Missionary Schools, except in community schools.
“Though this is challengeable, for peace to reign, I asked for a referral to the said community-based schools, which the Zonal Education Officer, reluctantly gave.
“On referral to Gateway Junior Secondary School, the principal, identified as Mrs Kushimo, said boldly that ‘hijab is an abomination’ in Ogun state public schools.
“I wrote a letter, informing the Commissioner for Education on the development.
“The commissioner told me that nobody has the right to reject hijab in the public secondary school.
“After waiting for reply and action for long, I took my daughter to the school and completed the registration at the sixth week for her to meet up with her peers and sit for the mid-term test.
“The Vice Principal admitted her and fixed her into JSS1A.
“But, the class teacher declined Aisha’s use of hijab on her uniform and compelled her to remove it she could be admitted into her class.
“The girl tried to explain to her that her father has seen the VP on this issue.
“All of a sudden, another female teacher came from behind and jerked the hijab off her head.
“At the ninth week and when I have concluded that instead of putting the state on jeopardy by staging protest, I prefer towing a civic way by seeking redress in the court of law,’’ the father narrated.
From our correspondent in Abeokuta