Hijab Verdict: Muslims react as Lagos State heads for Supreme Court

The Lagos State Government has head for the supreme court to appeal the Court of Appeal judgement granting the right to wear hijab in Lagos public schools. The state government appealed to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja. The State is equally seeking for a Stay of Execution as some of the students resumed in schools with Hijab on Monday 20th September 2016.

The notice of Appeal and application for stay of execution dated September 10, 2016, revealed that Lagos State Government is appealing against the whole decision of the Court of Appeal. The Supreme court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the two applications.

The Lagos State Government has called for caution by all parties as it relates to the interpretation of the Appeal Court ruling over the use of hijab by female Muslim students in the State’s public primary and secondary schools, advising that the relative religious peace enjoyed in the State should not be sacrificed on the altar of religion.

According to the statement by State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem “It is not in dispute that the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on 21st of July, 2016 upturned the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State which had inter alia ruled that the use of hijab is not part of school uniform in public primary and secondary school in Lagos State and the rights of the Applicants under Sections 38 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended has not been violated.”

‘’Just as the Applicants counsel exercised the constitutional right of appeal by appealing against the judgment, the state government has also appealed against the judgment of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court,” the statement concluded.

He, therefore, enjoined all those involved to allow the legal process to take its course on the matter and await the determination of the appeal lodged at the Supreme Court emphasising that it was in the best interest of all parties and jurisprudence that the matter be given final interpretation by the Supreme Court.

The President of Muslim Student in Lagos State, Dr. Saheed Ashafa maintained that the applications do not stop students from putting on their hijab to school. Now, none of the actions taken by the government affects our female members right to wear hijab.

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“Again, I urge our members to ensure that they resist removing the hijab with their own hands. They should ensure that the teacher or overzealous principal or tutor-general does. We have a process of getting them individually answerable to the law.” he said.

His female counterpart, Hafsah Badru, reminded the government that students and their parents are tax payers who deserved to enjoy the benefit of the law when granted. Teachers should face their teaching work instead of indulging in the act of intimidating Muslim students for wearing hijab, she urged.

Abubakri Yekini, a PhD researcher at the Centre for Private International Law, School of Law, University of Aberdeen said  ”I have been authoritatively informed of the application of the Lagos State Govt to stop female Muslim students from wearing hijab as ordered by the Court of Appeal. I will rather advise the LASG to take the advantage of the cooperation of Islamic groups in the state in working with the various schools to arrive at a uniform hijab code and let peace reign….than to be running halter skelter in setting aside a natural, human and constitutionally guaranteed right. If we won again at the SC…we will not negotiate or compromise implementation. my personal opinion.”

Ibrahim Ola Balogun, a social commentator, policy analyst and Columnist with The Rezponder said ”I learnt Lagos State is heading to the Supreme Court to appeal the Hijab Verdict. Nice one there, Ambode and Adebule. Stay of Execution again, Not so smart. Since the State has a constitutional right to approach the Supreme Court in a bid to appeal against the hijab verdict, and they are appealing, so be it. So let’s forget political solutions, we meet in court.

”The Lagos Muslims not only the Students or Student organisations at this point should be ready to put up a great and solid defence so that the issue will be settled once and for all. For the sake of all Muslim Female girls and generation to come, Lagos Muslims must rally around MSSN and that their great and committed legal team, he said.

”However, lose or win, Lagos State will be the loser, a government that can not respect the Right of the female girl and Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as enshrine in the Nigeria constitution, even after the court of appeal’s verdict. And disturbingly a government that can not stand by one of its major campaign promises. Though I have a strong feeling that Lagos State is doing Nigeria Muslims a great favour when defeated at the Supreme Court, we will not be talking about only Lagos Public Schools” he submitted.

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AbdulHafees Khalid, a Solicitor with JB MAJIYAGBE (SAN) & Co  said ”Not so sure that the court of appeal verdict can be stayed been a declaratory judgment. It’s said to be self-executing.  Be that as it may, I feel it is the right thing to do by the government, at least for our (Muslims) sake. We need to entrench it in the law that our rights are to be recognised just as those of the Christians have a long time ago both by the colonial masters and in some cases by the Courts of the Land.  I guess our sister legal practitioners, will be a huge beneficiary of this important milestone.”
Bolaji Yusuf, IT Head / Business Development Executive at Elens Konsult, that many would consider as an unusual voice in support of hijab said ”I actually want Lagos State to fail. Let the hate game begin.”
In reaction to ground three of the appeal,  Dr. Lateef Mobolaji Adetona of  Religious Faculty of  Lagos State University said ”Hmnnn, the appeal will not subsist but should we not look inward for the kind of misleading scholars that are being used for all sorts of misinterpretation….ehinkule lota wa….”

Muhammad Garbadeen wrote ”It’s the right of an individual or organisation to appeal any judgement they seem uncomfortable with, however, there’s always a bad case and there are winnable cases, the hijab case is one of the bad case for LASG. But, lawyers might disagree, whether bad case or winnable case, it doesn’t affect the pay cheque one bit. Allah(SWT) already gave Muslim females the injunction and ruling to use hijab, it’s only natural that all human courts follow suit.. I’m confident of victory at the supreme court In Sha Allah… And after that, all states across the federation can rely on the victory”.

More reaction is expected from Muslims in Nigeria and The Rezponder will catch all the moment till the Supreme Court gives verdict on the case.



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