Despite Supreme Court judgment, Muslim girls still facing intimidation over Hijab in Lagos – MULAN
September 03, 2022
The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), Lagos Branch, has condemned the continued intimidation, persecution and harassment of Muslim girls over the Hijab in public schools despite the Supreme Court judgement in favour of the Muslim apparel.
In a meeting of Muslim stakeholders on Thursday, September 1, MULAN said it had received several reports of outright disobedience of the judgement by some overzealous and lawless officers who are bent on denying Muslim girls their rights.
The meeting was attended by representatives of various Muslim organisations in Lagos. Notable personalities who spoke at the meeting include, Sina Sofola SAN, Prof. F.A.R Adeleke, Prof. Lakin Akintola (MURIC), Mr. Hassan Taiwo Fajimite and Mrs. Mutiat Orolu-Balogun (HRAI) and the Amir of MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit, Mal. Miftaudeen Thanni.
Asiyat AbdulKareem (who was the reason the Muslim lawyers and Muslim students’ body were in court), Maryam Sulayman, both once molested because of Hijab, and their parents, also attended the hijab implementation forum held at the Olanike Multipurpose Hall, Ikeja Lagos
According to a communique issued after the event by Chairman, MULAN, Lagos Branch, M.A.O Kaka Esq., “The Association 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 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.
“The Summit condemns and frowns at the unfortunate fact that despite the clear and unambiguous judgment of the Supreme Court (the Apex Court) some unscrupulous and lawless persons are bent at continuing the abuse of the innocent Muslim girls and discriminating against them only because they have chosen to exercise their fundamental rights by adorning their hijab while on school uniforms.
“The Summit views these untoward acts described above as not only lawless but also contemptuous of the highest Judicial Authority in the land which the Apex Supreme Court represents.”
The Muslim stakeholders advised the Lagos State government to warn its officials and agents against violating the supreme court judgement, while also decrying the refusal of the government to issue a circular across schools on the judgement.
“The summit also notes with great concern that despite the judgment of the Supreme Court, some officers of the Government of Lagos State have been hiding under the untenable excuse that there is no official circular from the state government giving directives on the use of the hijab on school uniform.
“As a result of the above, it is the position at the summit that the Lagos State government can be held complicit on this in view of the obvious fact that despite several calls by MULAN and other concerned Muslims bodies and persons on the government of Lagos State to issue a circular to that effect to deter its overzealous officers from continuing with their contemptuous acts, the government has turned deaf ears to the several calls till date, thus, emboldened its lawless officers to continue their unlawful acts unabated.
“Flowing from the foregoing, the summit thereby further resolves and calls on Lagos State Government to address the following to wit;
1. 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.
2. Direct the authorities of the various primary 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.
3. Ensure that no female Muslim student who has been wearing hijab in the past and/or those who just desire to wear the Hijab over their 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.
4. 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.
5. Set up (if it is yet to do so) a committee to immediately look into the school dress code in Lagos State and fashion out a model that will be non-discriminatory and will recognise in particular the rights of Muslim girls in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State, which shall be in tandem with the minimum that has been exhibited in the case leading to the supreme court judgment.
MULAN meanwhile demonstrated the sample of the navel length Hijab it used as exhibit in the court case which they expect in public schools for uniformity.
The stakeholders commended the Lagos State government on the various strides it is recording in the state, while expressing their readiness for a constructive engagement with government representatives on modality of implementing the supreme court judgement before resumption of another academic session.
They added that they would not tolerate further intimidation and harassment of Muslim girls over the Hijab.