Hijab ban: 12-year-olds sue Lagos as Muslim students protest

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Governor of Lagos State

The protesters seek a reversal of the alleged ban.

Some Muslim students on Monday besieged the Ikeja High Court in protest against the Lagos State Government’s alleged decision to prohibit the use of hijab (veil) by female students in public schools.

The protesters were led by Muslim teachers and clerics, under the aegis of the Lagos State chapter of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN).

They carried placards with inscriptions, such as: ‘Hijab is our right, it must be respected’; ‘Fashola, to be forewarned is to be forearmed’; “Lagos State Government, stop discrimination against our female students’’.

Meanwhile, Justice Joseph Oyewole, of an Ikeja High Court, on Monday adjourned the suit filed against the government over the alleged ban till July 10.

The suit was filed by Asiyat Abdulkareem and Maryam Oyeniyi, two 12-year-old pupils of Atunrashe Junior High School, Surulere, Lagos State.

The minors filed the suit through their fathers, Owolabi Abdulkareem and Suleiman Oyeniyi.

During Monday’s proceedings, counsel to the state government, Samuel Ajanaku, said that the state had not filed its response because it believed that the matter could be resolved out of court.

Taiwo Fajimite, counsel to the applicants, said that the Muslim community was open to further discussions with the government on the issue.

The judge urged both parties to explore the option of dialogue and report back to the court on the next adjourned date.

The applicants are asking the court to declare the alleged ban as “wrong and unconstitutional”. They said it constitutes a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom from discrimination and right of human persons and right to education.

They argued that the action of the authorities in banning them and other female Muslim students from using hijab while in uniform in any educational institution in Lagos State violated their rights under Sections 38 and 42 of the Constitution.

Therefore, they want an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from “further interfering or infringing in any manner on the fundamental rights of the first and second applicants and other female Muslim students”.


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