The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has filed a fresh case at the Ogun State High Court asking the court to order the state government to allow the use of hijab by female Muslim students in public primary and secondary schools in the state.
The case was filed by the Amir of MSSN in Ogun State, Saheed Amisu on behalf of female students in these schools.
Also joined as respondents are the state’s attorney-general and justice commissioner, education commissioner, All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPS) and Association of Head Teachers of Primary Schools in Nigeria (AOPSHON), Ogun State chapters.
The MSSN suit was mentioned for first hearing on Tuesday before the judge, Bamgbose Alabi.
The applicants are seeking for an order “to enforce and secure the enforcement of the fundamental rights of female Muslim students in public primary and secondary schools in Ogun State under Sections 38 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
MSSN is also praying for a declaration that the “use of Islamically prescribed head cover called Hijab by the students forms parts of their fundamental rights to freedom of religion, conscience and thought as contained in Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
The notice further sought for a declaration that “molestation, harassment, torture, embarrassment and humiliation which Muslim female students in Ogun State are subjected to in the hands of the agents of government constitutes a clear infringement of their right to dignity of human person and right against torture”.
It sought ”an order restraining the respondents, their servants, agents, privies or whosoever called from disallowing the Muslim female students in public primary and secondary schools in Ogun State the use of Islamically prescribed Hijab in their various schools during and after the school hours.”
In a 33-paragraphs affidavit in support of the application, deposed to by Saheed Amisu, it documented incidences of humiliation of Muslim students by teachers in: Abeokuta Girl Grammar School, African Church Grammar School, Nawairu-deen High School, Premier Grammar School ”and many other schools in the state which are owned and controlled by the State government”.
“The most embarrassing occurrence happened when a female teacher, Mrs Aderonmu of Premier Grammar School, Abeokuta molested a female Muslim student, Miss Raji Iyabo who put on hijab after the school premises, removed the hijab and drowned same in black engine oil.
“Despite the complaint of the applicants as stated hereabove, the molestation of the applicants’ female members persisted without anything done by the respondents.”
The applicant also stated that non-Muslims are not compelled to use Hijab in Muslim-named schools and ”as such are not affected if the prayers are granted”.
Counsel to the applicants, Semiu Akinbami, informed the court that all processes had been served to allow for the commencement of the case.
After hearing the arguments of the counsels to the claimants and respondents, the judge adjourned the case to Wednesday, March, 6.