Muslim students under the aegis of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos Area Unit have appealed to the State Government to urgently issue a circular on last Friday’s verdict of the Supreme Court approving the use of hijab in public schools.
The students also urged the government to caution its officials against harassing Muslim females wearing hijab, saying henceforth assault or harassment of female students should be criminalised.
The Amir (President) of MSSN, Miftahudeen Thanni, explained that issuing the circular would curb “overzealous” teachers and principals from contempt of court.
“The Lagos State Government should issue a circular within 30 days after the delivery of the judgement allowing Hijab,” he said, adding that the government should hold a meeting with MSSNLagos, Muslim leaders and other Islamic organisations on the size and modalities of using the hijab.
After about 10 years of legal tussle, the Supreme Court affirmed the earlier Court of Appeal’s decision which restored the use of hijab by female Muslim students in Lagos State.
It will be recalled that in November 2018, the Lagos State Government issued an earlier circular to all principals of public secondary schools instructing them to allow students.
But the MSSN said despite the circular, there were still cases of assault on female Muslim students on account of using Hijab.
Thanni told the state government “not to assume that allowing the hijab is a favour to Muslims,” saying, “No, it is not. It is a constitutional right and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. We are only asking the government to respect the constitution of Nigeria by ordering its agents to stop victimising our students for wearing the hijab.
“The Lagos State Government should know that its plan to make the state a Mega-City will be incomplete without obedience to the ruling of the Court of the land and constitutionalism. A Mega-City can be easily achieved where peace, unity, mutual trust and respect thrive.
“For no reason should a girl-child be denied education again in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole! The images of Muslim students sent out of the examination hall for wearing hijab touch the heart and consistently bring tears to the eyes. We do not want this to recur. The education of the girl-child is very paramount in our hearts. No Muslim girl should ever be told to choose between her faith and education. Both are her rights.”
The MSSN President added, “This is not to castigate the Lagos State Government but to appeal for the prompt implementation of the Supreme Court judgement.
“We waited patiently to get the judgement and we were lawful throughout. During this period, we consulted, collaborated, protested, held rallies and sensitised government officials on why a willing Muslim female should be allowed to put on the hijab.”
He warned other state governments to stop victimising Muslim students for using hijab after the judgement while calling on all Muslims to be lawful and report any violation to the appropriate quarters.