Lagos Hijab Case: Appeal Court Strikes out Lagos State Motion

…Says Hijab can be worn in Lagos School unless the Supreme Court gives a contrary verdict

Court of Appeal on Tuesday (today) struck out the motion seeking an injunction to stop the use of hijab in Lagos State. ‎The motion for stoppage was raised by the Lagos State Government in the case that came up in Lagos.

The case, CA/L/135/15, is between Lagos State Government, Miss Asiyat AbdulKareem (through her father), Miss Moriam Oyeniyi and Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.

Explaining the implication of the judgement, Amir (President) of MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit, Dr. Saheed Ashafa, said students can continue to wear hijabs to primary and secondary schools in Lagos State.

He said the Hijab can be worn unless the Supreme Court gives a contrary verdict.

Recall that the LASG appealed to the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with judgements of the court of appeal delivered on Thursday, July 21, 2016 which gave approval to Muslim students to wear the hijab (veil for females) with their school uniforms.

Ashafa in an interview with our correspondent after the sitting on Tuesday said,  “We give thanks to Allah for making us victorious again. This simply means that students can continue to put on the Hijab. We urge the Lagos State Government to respect this verdict and warn teachers against further harassment of our members for wearing Hijab to school.

“It is expected that the Supreme Court will also uphold our right.”

Recall that in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal sets aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court which banned students in public primary and secondary schools in the state from putting on the hijab with their school uniforms.

A special panel of the court presided over by Justice A.B. Gumel held that the appeal was meritorious and should be allowed.

In his lead judgment, Justice Gumel held that the use of the hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing the hijab in public schools.

Resolving all the five issues raised in favour of the appellants, the appellate court held that the lower court erred in law when it held that the ban on hijabs was a policy of the Lagos State Government (respondent).

Other justices in the five-man panel were Justice M. Fasanmi, Justice A. Jauro, Justice J.S. Ikyegh and Justice I. Jombo Ofor.

Justice Modupe Onyeabor of an Ikeja High Court had on October 17, 2014, dismissed the suit instituted against the Lagos State Government by two 12-year-old girls under the aegis of the MSSN, Lagos State.

Dissatisfied, the appellants urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment and protect their constitutional rights.

The government had banned the use of the hijab, arguing that it was not part of the approved school uniform for pupils.

Following the ban, the students filed the suit on May 27, 2015, seeking redress and asked the court to declare the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, religion and education.

In her judgment, Onyeabor held that the prohibition of the wearing of hijabs over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.

According to her, the ban did not violate Sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as claimed by the plaintiffs.
Ashafa had expressed confidence that a favourable judgement would be obtained.
He noted that “Hijab is a constitutional right and all citizens of Nigeria should not be deprived of their rights. Banning hijab is like banning freedom of worship and conscience.”‎

 

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