Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State chapter has applauded the judgment of the Supreme Court upholding the use of hijab in Lagos schools.
Gatekeepers News earlier reports that the judgment, which was delivered on Friday in Abuja, had no fewer than seven justices on the panel, out of which six backed the use of hijab in Lagos schools.
The apex court dismissed an appeal by the Lagos State Government and upheld the use of hijab in Lagos schools.
In his reaction to the judgment, Friday, the Amir (President) of MSSN Lagos, Miftahudeen Thanni, said with the judgment, students in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State can now wear hijab to school without harassment.
Thanni appealed to teachers and government officials in the State to refrain from harassment of female Muslim students, urging that the Supreme Court judgement should put a stop to the “undue” punishment of students willing to wear the hijab.
He, however, assured the state government and residents of peaceful co-existence, noting that Muslim students won’t abuse the judgement.
According to him, the judgment has deepened the confidence of students and Nigerians in the judiciary.
He said, “The judgement simply means that though hijab is not mandatory in Lagos schools, Muslim students who wish to wear it are free to do so and legally allowed.
“We are a law-abiding organization and we will continue to uphold the law of the land. We applaud the judgment. The position of the law is very clear on the subject matter. This matter once more assures us that all hope is not lost on having a modest society.
“The government should not be waging war against youths who chose to cover their nakedness while encouraging those who walk naked and engage in illicit acts in public,” he said.
Thanni said, “It gladdens to see that the injunction which the LASG is using as a basis to deny the rights of Muslim students has been decided by the apex court.
“We hereby urge all stakeholders to be law-abiding for a peaceful implementation of the judgment. There should be no violation of human rights against our students while we expect an immediate implementation of the judgment in all schools across the state. We urge the government not to delay implementation,” he added.
While congratulating and thanking Muslims and the legal team on the recent apex court judgment, Thanni said, “We congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah (community) and urge our Muslim students to uphold decency and cleanliness which are the hallmark of Islam while exercising their rights. We also pray to Allah to forgive the shortcomings of the late Alhaji Adetola Kassim (SAN) who started this case without collecting a dime from us.”
Vanguard recalls that the Lagos State Government had in February 2017 approached the Supreme Court to challenge the July 21, 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal, which reinstated the use of hijab by Muslim pupils in Lagos public primary and secondary schools.
This was after the state government sought to stay the execution of the judgment at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal but failed.
The case, CA/L/135/15, is between the Lagos State Government, Miss Asiyat AbdulKareem (through her father), Miss Moriam Oyeniyi, and the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.
A five-man special appellate court panel, presided by Justice A.B. Gumel, had on July 21, 2016, overruled the October 17, 2014 judgment of Justice Modupe Onyeabo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, which banned the use of hijab in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State.
While striking down Justice’s Onyeabo’s verdict, the Justice Gumel panel had held that the ban on hijab was discriminatory against Muslim pupils in the state.
The panel upheld the Muslim students’ contention that the ban violated their rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, the dignity of human persons, and freedom from discrimination guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Gumel also held that wearing the hijab was an Islamic injunction and an act of worship required of Muslims.
He said the use of hijab by Muslim pupils could not cause disunity, distraction, and discrimination against students of other faiths as declared by the lower court judge.