Nigeria: Apex Court Judgment On Hijab – Address Persistent Harassment of Muslim Girls in Hijab, Mulan Tells Sanwo-Olu

The Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) Lagos Branch has condemned the continued discrimination, abuse and harrassment of Muslim girls wearing hijab, despite the clear and unambiguous judgment of the Supreme Court recently, describing it as “untoward acts, not only lawless but also contemptuous of the highest Judicial Authority in the land which the Apex Supreme Court represents.”

The group asked the state government to come out openly and make a categorical statement acknowledging the judgment of the Supreme Court and demonstrate that Lagos State is for all, and a respecter of the Rule of law.

The group stated this during a meeting of Muslim stakeholders in the Olanike hall, Shamsi Adisa Thomas Mosque, Old Secretariat, Ikeja.

In a communique, the summit posited that the state government should: “Come out openly and boldly in making a categorical statement acknowledging the judgment of the Supreme Court and demonstrate that Lagos State is for all, and a respecter of the Rule of law.

“Direct the authorities of the various primaries and secondary schools owned and managed by the State Government to allow without any inhibition whatsoever, all female Muslim students who desire to do so, to wear their hijab over their school uniforms.

“Ensure that no female Muslim student who has been wearing hijab in the past and/ or those who just desires to wear the Hijab over her school uniform in and out of school, whether during or outside school hours is victimised, oppressed and or subjected to any form of intimidation and / or discrimination whatsoever.

“Ensure that any teacher who violates the Judgment of the court is promptly disciplined by the appropriate authority of the State to avoid any embarrassment that may be caused to the Government functionaries who may be cited for contempt of Court for failing to comply or ensure compliance with the orders of the highest court in Nigeria.

The forum also stated that the Muslim Community in Lagos State will remain ever ready to engage constructively, the representatives of the State government in fashioning out the modality on the implementation of the judgment before the resumption of the Schools for new academic session, adding that henceforth, it will no longer tolerate the abuse and discrimination of Muslim female students.

The Summit reiterated its commitment to the peaceful and harmonious co-existence in Lagos State, just as it commends the efforts and strides the government has recorded in running the affairs of the state.

The summit also demonstrated the sample of the Hijab exhibited in the case and called for uniformity in the style of the Hijab which is a navel length Hijab as held in the Judgment.

The association led by Barrister Ajibola Kaka noted that it was compelled to call for the summit after receiving reports of several incidents of outright disobedience of the judgment of Supreme Court delivered on 17th day of June 2022 in Appeal No: SC/ 910 / 2016; between the Lagos State Government & Ors (Appellants) v. Miss Asiyat Abdulkareem & Ors (Respondents).

The judgment was sequel to the Appeal filed by the Lagos State Government against the earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/L/135/2015 at the Court of Appeal, which Judgment upturned the earlier Judgment of the High Court of Lagos in Suit No; ID/151M/13 between the same parties.

“While condemning the distasteful disobedience of the rule of law as exemplified by the acts of those categories of persons described aforesaid the Summit calls on the Government of Lagos State to do the needful and ensure that its Agencies and Officers concerned comply with the judgment of the Apex court.

The Summit has no doubt that the present Administration in Lagos State is a Law abiding one.

The Summit further noted that “it is apparent that some persons for whatever reasons are bent on provoking the Muslim Ummah in Lagos State with their continuous intimidation of Muslim girls using their Hijab and calls on the Government of Lagos State to forthwith take punitive measures against those lawless and disgruntled elements who seem hell bent to tarnish the good image and reputation of the Lagos State Government.

In attendance at the Summit were representatives of all Muslim organisations in Lagos State. Notable among the speakers were Sina Sofola SAN, Professor F.A.R Adeleke, Prof Lakin Akintola of MURIC, Mr. Hassan Taiwo Fajimite and Mrs. Mutiat Orolu-Balogun of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, among others.

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