By KEMI KASUMU
A Muslim rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria for upholding the sanctity and constitutionality of hijab.
In a judgement delivered on Friday, 17h June, 2022, the Supreme Court approved the use of hijab.
MURIC’s message which was dated 17th June, 2022, was signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The full statement reads: “The Supreme Court of Nigeria in its judgement yesterday, Thursday, 16th June, 2022, approved the use of hijab by Muslim students. The apex court dismissed the appeal by the Lagos State Government and upheld the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal which held that the ban on hijab was discriminatory against Muslim students.
“The court upheld that the ban violated the Muslim students’ rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, the dignity of human persons and freedom from discrimination guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (https://punchng.com/breaking-supreme-court-upholds-use-of-hijab-in-lagos-schools/).
“Seven justices of the Supreme Court sat on the matter. Five of them supported the judgement while two opposed it. The lead judgement was read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun. Other justices on the panel were Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Justice John Inyang Okoro, Justice Uwani Aji, Justice Mohammed Garba, Justice Tijjani Abubakar and Justice Emmanuel Agim.
“This is the moment of truth. Divine truth has overwhelmed social truth. No matter how long, truth will prevail in the end. MURIC hails this judgement. We salute the courage of the honourable justices who stood by the sanctity of the Constitution and the inviolability of our font et origo.
“Once again, this pronouncement has infused hope in the Nigerian judiciary. The justices have refused to be swayed by religious sentiment. They stuck to the facts of the case and relied on the supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution. This is evident in the constitution of the panel: only three of them are Muslims while the remaining four are Christians. Yet five of them were in favour.
“We call on the Lagos State Government (LASG) to immediately implement the letter and spirit of this judgement. It becomes imperative for LASG to issue a circular on the approval of hijab in all its public schools without any delay. MURIC had earlier demanded the issuance of this circular but LASG ignored our demand to date.
“But the highest court in the land has now spoken and LASG cannot afford to delay it because this is a constitutional matter and an issue of great public interest. Had it been freely given had been good, but it has been delayed until the victims of oppression and persecution can no longer express gratitude to LASG for having their Allah-given fundamental human rights restored by the Supreme Court.
“Let this serve as an eye-opener and a warning to religious fanatics and Muslim-haters wherever they may be, particularly those who often snatch the hijab from the heads of female Muslim students in public, those who have been humiliating our daughters and those who have been beating them mercilessly. Judgement day is here.
“We can see the doors of South West prisons opening to admit culprits of contempt of this Supreme Court pronouncement. Afterall, it is well known that there is no appeal for Supreme Court judgement. It is the last bus stop. All public school authorities, hardliner principals, classroom teachers in Kwara, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, etc, are advised to take note.
“We give thanks to Almighty Allah, the Most Powerful, the Wisest, the Greatest, the Inimitable, the Indefatigable, the Invincible, the Judge of all judges, King of all kings and Master of all masters. We reaffirm our faith in the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon him).
“MURIC congratulates Nigerian Muslims, particularly all Islamic organisations in the country. Special encomiums go to the team of Muslim lawyers who fought the case. They are our frontline soldiers. We salute their tenacity. We pray that Allah will reward them in this world and in the Hereafter. It has been a hard-won victory and a long road to triumph.
“Before we lift our fingers from the keyboard, we dedicate this victory to the undisputed leader of Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto and the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’d Abubakar for his wise counsel and his unwavering belief in peaceful approach at all times. We thank Allah that this victory came in his lifetime.”