An Islamic rights group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has applauded the Lagos State Government for giving approval to the use of Hijabs by Muslim female students in schools across the state.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that the Lagos State government on Tuesday issued a circular on the approval of Hijabs.
The content of the circular was communicated by the Lagos Chapter of Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN).
Reacting to the development on Wednesday, MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, in a statement urged government agencies and employers of labour to abide by the decision.
“Though belated, it is better to be late than never to do it at all. The wind of change is sweeping across the South-west and no state government wants to be caught within the camp of reactionaries.
“We call on all government agencies and employers of labour to note this development. It is a monumental decision. The patience exhibited by Lagos Muslims has paid off. A quiet and peaceful revolution is ongoing and it is in the best interest of all men and women of goodwill to join the train before it leaves the station so that they may not be left behind.
“Reports reaching MURIC headquarters say the Tutor General Permanent Secretary (TGPS) of District 6 has also issued a circular directing all school principals within the jurisdiction to allow female Muslim students who wish to use the hijab to do so. We are yet to hear anything from Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. We are therefore calling on the remaining five TGPS to follow suit. Delay will imply insurbodination and sabotage of government’s good intention.
“We congratulate the Lagos State chapters of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), The Muslim Congress (TMC), the Muslim Teachers Association of Nigeria (MUTAN) and the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN). We commend them for their steadfastness, patience and forbearance.
“In conclusion, we charge all the Islamic organisations in the state to immediately set up monitoring units for the successful implementation of the state government’s directive.
“Muslim parents should be mobilised to visit schools for the purpose of ensuring compliance. We warn that nobody should take the law into his or her hands. Defaulting principals and recalcitrant teachers should be reported to the nearest office of Islamic organisations”, the statement read.
Shuaib Ayinla, a member of Education Right Campaign (ERC) in Lagos, said: “We are glad that the society is getting liberated. This is a welcome development and proves that if we demand our rights, we can get them regardless of how long it takes. Education is a right and students should not be denied because of their religion.”
Also reacting, Mulikat Lawal, a parent whose children attend Badore Community Secondary School in Ajah told PREMIUM TIMES that the development will further strengthen the students to know that their religion has its place in law.
“The state government has done perfectly well and this will further strengthen the belief of our children and establish that their religion has its place in law. We are certain that the case in Ibadan will also be treated accordingly.
“If Nigerian law school can approve the use of hijab, it will be silly for states to be hardened on this. It is the right of these pupils and it is good that the community at large is fighting for them now,” she said.
Mukaila Afolabi, a secondary school teacher in Ajah, told our correspondent that she hopes the policy will be implemented without hiccups.
“Since the government already made an order that Hijab should be allowed, it will be difficult for any teacher to punish the students or deny them entry when we see them putting one. We only hope they will follow the instructions of Government that the Hijabs should be smart and be in line with the colour of the uniform.”
The approval in Lagos is coming a day after the International School of the University of Ibadan in neighbouring Oyo State was shut after crisis erupted when some female students were stopped for wearing Hijabs
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