Again, Appeal Court strikes out move by Lagos govt to stop hijab in schools

Girls in Hijab [Photo Credit: Republic Reporter
Girls in Hijab [Photo Credit: Republic Reporter

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit, has hailed the striking out of a motion seeking an injunction to stop hijab usage in the state by the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on Tuesday heard the motion – stay of execution – filed by the Lagos State Government and struck it out.

The case, CA/L/135/15, is between Lagos State Government, Asiyat AbdulKareem (through her father), Moriam Oyeniyi and Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.

The struck motion was asking the court to stop the use of hijab in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State pending the ruling of the Supreme Court on the matter.

After hearing from both parties, the presiding justice, Muhammad Garba, struck out the motion.

With the current ruling, students in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State can now wear hijab to school without harassment unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise.

Earlier, the Lagos State Government on Thursday, July 21, 2016 lost at the Court of Appeal when a full panel of the court gave approval to the Muslim students to use hijab to school.

The Amir (President) of MSSN Lagos State Area Unit, Saheed Ashafa, applauded the judgement, saying that the favourable outcome was expected.

According to him, the judgement will further strengthen fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.

He stated that the MSSN Lagos would not entertain any act or form of harassment after the current judgement.

He said, “We applaud the judgement as this is not unexpected. The position of the law is very clear on the subject matter. This matter once more assure us that all hope is not lost on having a redeemed society.

“It gladdens to see that the injunction which the LASG is using as a basis to deny the implementation of the Court of Appeal judgement has been struck out.

“We hereby urge all stakeholders to be law abiding for a peaceful implementation of the judgement. There should be no violation of human rights against our Students while we expect an immediate implementation of the judgement in all schools across the state.”

While congratulating and thanking Muslims on the recent victory, Mr. Ashafa said, “We congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah (community) and urge our Muslim students to uphold decency and cleanliness which are the hallmark of Islam while exercising their right.”

A special constituted panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on July 21, 2016 unanimously set aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court which banned students in public primary and secondary schools in the state from putting on the hijab with their school uniforms.

The special panel of the court presided over by Justice A.B. Gumel held that the appeal was meritorious and should be allowed.

In his lead judgment, Justice Gumel held that the use of the hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship, hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing the hijab in public schools.

Resolving all the five issues raised in favour of the appellants, the appellate court held that the lower court erred in law when it held that the ban on hijabs was a policy of the Lagos State Government (respondent).

Other justices in the five-member panel were M. Fasanmi, A. Jauro, J.S. Ikyegh and I. Jombo Ofor.

Justice Modupe Onyeabor of an Ikeja High Court had on October 17, 2014, dismissed the suit instituted against the Lagos State Government by two 12-year-old girls under the aegis of the MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit.

Dissatisfied, the appellants urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment and protect their constitutional rights.

The government had banned the use of the hijab, arguing that it was not part of the approved school uniform for pupils.

Following the ban, the students filed the suit on May 27, 2015, seeking redress and asked the court to declare the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, religion and education.

In her judgment, Mrs. Onyeabor held that the prohibition of the wearing of hijabs over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.

According to her, the ban did not violate Sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as claimed by the plaintiffs.


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  • Law Americana

    Premium Times Editor,

    No sense; no thinking; no logic, and, sheer nonsense!

    NIGERIA IS A USELESS COUNTRY. No thinking takes place in the country. Half-idiots in charge
    of the executive, legislature and the judiciary have only olden sometimes forged or procured
    dilpomas or university certificates to show as alibi for their wholly empty heads, for otherwise
    anyone possessed of average intelligence should know that the contours of freedom of faith
    and religion in the 1999 constitution are within the bounds of places where faith and religion
    are to be practised, and, nowhere else. There is no right to wear Hijab into a surgery room,

    if Nigerian Judges can read and understand the meaning of the word “right”, but they don’t.
    Insouciant, corrupt, inarticulate and incoherent Judges of Nigerian courts do not reason
    from premiss to conclusion to know the difference between “liberty” and “right“; and so,
    like morons, the Judges get ahead of themselves to assimilate “interests” into “rights
    – contrary to what the International Court of Justice enjoined in a decided case that
    thinking Judges of national courts must NOT do. But nonsense keeps on in Nigeria.
    Now there’s a right to wear the Islamic Hijab to the altar of a church at a wedding.

    • Mike A. Elliot

      @Law Americana,

      BUT IT’S TRUE O. THE CONSTITUTION TALKS OF ‘FREEDOM OF RELIGION’ – NOT RIGHT OF RELIGION.
      WHY IS THE COURT TALKING OF RIGHT AS IF FREEDOM AND RIGHT MEAN THE SAME THING IN LAW?
      DID NIGERIA’S COURT JUDGES PASS THEIR OWN 1962 WASC/GCE? I DON’T THINK SO, MY PEOPLE!
      WHERE CHRISTIANITY IS BEING PRACTISED IS THERE A RIGHT TO GO AND PRACTISE ISLAM THERE?

      • Jide Okisoke

        @Law Americana:

        Is a public school a religious place? The Court did not even answer that first question.
        What kind of court is that? Look, folks, Nigerians are fastly losing faith in the courts,
        the judiciary is becoming a joke, in fact, a mess. What sort of nonsense verdict
        is this one? If i bar anyone wearing Hijab from entering my house this decision
        means I will be jailed because the wearing of Hijab everywhere is now a right.
        What sort of ignorant and thoughtless Judges do you guys have in Nigeria?
        The earlier you sack all the Judges in Nigeria the better for the country.
        Nigeria needs to start afresh. Too many dunces are in the judiciary!

        • I just dey ask O!

          PLEASE ELUCIDATE IN ORDER TO BE PELLUCID. ARE YOU SAYING
          THE FOLLOWING JUDGES WHO DECIDED THE CASE NO KNOW BOOK?

          • Justice A.B. Gumel

          • Justice M. Fasanmi

          • Justice A. Jauro

          • Justice J.S. Ikyegh

          • Justice I. Jombo Ofor.

  • David Igoh

    Very few Nigerians will be impressed by this bare-bones judgment
    which does not define the legal terms at issue or provide any context where those
    terms (as defined) will apply. I am dis-appointed. This case cannot guide the country forward.
    This is a sad day for Nigeria. It is the day the last pillar of hope of a rational country fell down.

  • Otile

    How can they know which hijab cladded girl is carrying explosives?

  • Odus

    Focus on education and not on the uniform. The uniforms don’t make a smart pupil!. Period.

  • JOHNSON

    What did u pple expect from the head of d Appeal court judge…a muslim