An Islamic group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), on Friday commended the Supreme Court of Nigeria judgment approving the use of hijab in public schools in Lagos State.
MURIC said all states in the South-West region should embrace the ruling and allow female students freely us hijabs across its public schools.
The seven-man panel of the apex court in its judgment on Friday upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on July 21, 2016, which quashed the judgment delivered by Justice Grace Onyeabo of the Lagos State High Court on October 17, 2014 in favour of the state government on hijab restriction in public schools in the state.
Though two of the panel members opposed the judgment, five other members held that restriction of use of hijab in public schools is a violation of constitutional rights of Muslim female students.
In the ruling written by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun and read by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Lagos State against the Court of Appeal judgment in 2016 for lack of merit.
Reacting to the judgment, MURIC Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, in a statement described the judgment as a Divine victory over social truth.
Akintola said, “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 judgment. 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.
“We can see the doors of South West prisons opening to admit culprits of contempt of this Supreme Court pronouncement. After all, 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, and classroom teachers in Kwara, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, etc, are advised to take note.”