HIJAB: Media Watch Group reacts to S’Court verdict amidst jubilations across Nigeria

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The Muslim Lawyers who fought the Hijab legal battle to victory, at the Supreme Court in Abuja, on Friday, June 17, 2022.

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*As Kwara Muslim Community says judgement’s effects cover all Nigerian schools

*Asks Kwara Govt to stop teachers in CAN loyalist schools to stop bullying, intimidating Muslim students in hijab

*Warns CAN to stop promoting religious crisis through state school system

By KEMI KASUMU

The seven years legal battle for the use of hijab by female Muslim students, which started following 2014 ban on same, unbelievably, by Muslim Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), in Lagos State, came to an end Friday June 17, 2022 with the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivering its judgement in favour of the Muslims, saying hijab is their fundamental human rights.

This historic judgement had drawn widespread jubilations and commendations as notable Nigeria’s civil society, the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWGN), took to the media airspace with a statement describing the ruling of the seven-man judicial panel as fantastic.

The Media Watch Group, in the statement signed by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is also a media and human resources consultant, said the judgement approving the use of hijab in Lagos State public schools is ‘victory for the righteous!’

The DEFENDER reports that the Supreme Court of Nigeria Friday morning delivered its judgement on the use of hijab in Lagos State schools, which also implied approval of same in schools across Nigeria.

It will be recalled that the Lagos State Government had appealed the judgement of Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal which legalised the use of hijab few years ago but the legal battle was finally laid to rest Friday with the apex court granting the Muslims victory against the state government’s hijab ban.

Also describing the Supreme Court verdict as a landmark judgement that would restore sanity, peace and progress in the education system in Nigeria, the Muslim Media Watch Group, in the strongly-worded press statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, stated that “any order, tradition and culture that contradicts the provision of the Nigerian Constitution is ‘null and void’.”

Alhaji Ibrahim stated that some antagonists of hijab in public schools have always based their antagonism on the tradition and culture of their faith or the original founders of schools or their education system.

He stated that the use of hijab could be likened to the uniform put on by catholic Nuns which protects the morality of the young women folks; adding that if that mode of dressing could be allowed, the ban on hijab is highly discriminatory to the Muslims and cannot be better described than violation of fundamental human rights of Muslim female students.

The Group commended the Justices of the Supreme Court for standing firm on the rule of law and protecting the sanctity of the judicial procedure that forbids discrimination and intimidation of anyone based on faith or religious practice.

It lauded the Lagos State Area Unit of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) for handling the matter of religious denial and discrimination with maturity by taking legal steps since 2015 instead of taking a violent means to secure what is constitutionally their fundamental human rights.

He lauded the Muslim Students over the lawful approach adding that it had acted in matter that is in tune with islamic dictates of ensuring peace at all times.

The Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management condemned the attitude of Lagos State government denying female Muslim students their right on hijab issue, pointing out that such attitude of some overzealous top government functionaries usually portrays them as religiously intolerant and fanatical, which tends to infringe on the rights of others, whereas, he added, no religion connected with God preaches hate and hostility against fellow citizens as those officers portrayed themselves.

The Group, therefore, warned all the state governments to be wary of some religious bigots who are in the habit of misleading them in taking wrong steps and decisions.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Muslim stakeholders has called on Kwara State Government to warn some school teachers, especially in the newly-reopened Oyun Baptist High School Ijagbo in Oyun Local Government of the state to stop bullying, harassment and intimidation of female Muslim students of the school using hijab.

The Chairman of the Stakeholders Alhaji Is-haq Abdulkarim was reacting to the Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed the position of the Muslims that hijab is a fundamental human right.

He accused the Kwara State Government of administrative lethargy as some public servants including school principals serving as agents of destabilisation in the school with their double loyalty, instead of implementing government directives based on the rule of law.

The Chairman stated that if harassment, bullying and persecution of Muslim students of the school or anywhere continued, the Muslims would not have any alternative than to secure their rights in the best manner as the schools are publicly owned as pronounced by two Superior Courts of Record.

He regretted that the enforcement of court orders and government circulars on freedom of worship has been too weak for Muslims, who constitute overwhelming majority in Kwara State, to bear.

Alhaji Ishaq Abdulkarim, a chartered accountant, stated that “with the Supreme Court judgement delivered today (Friday), its effects cover all states in the country, Kwara State Government must therefore enforce freedom of worship including re-errection of demolished Mosque at the Bishop Smith Memorial College Ilorin which was demolished by some hoodlums parading themselves as agents of some people.”

Alhaji AbdulKarim called on Kwara State Branch of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to stop promoting religious crisis in the state through the school system.

He concluded by adding that Kwara State is a ‘State of Harmony’ that believes in the rule of law, and that the two judgements delivered by two Superior Courts of Record on ownership of schools, in favour of Kwara State Government, were declaratory judgements that must not have its implementation delayed whatsoever.


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