Lagos High Court Uphold Ban On Hijab In Public Schools

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing

An Ikeja High Court has turned down a request by the Muslims Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), seeking to reverse the state government decision that outlawed the use of Hijab in the state’s public schools.

MSSN, had filed the against the Lagos state government on the wearing of Hijab in the state’s public schools.

Justice Modupe Onyeabor while delivering judgment on the suit Friday, established that the outlaw of the wearing of Hijab over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was in line with provisions of the law.

She cited sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, to counter the plaintiff – MSSN’s suit that that the ban violated the law.

Besides, the jurists also cited Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which according to her, declared Nigeria as a secular state, hence the reason for continuous neutrality by the government.

She added that the government, had obligation to preserve the secular nature of the schools as argued by the State’s Solicitor-General, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN).

The Lagos state government had argued that Hijab is not part of official school uniform in the state.

Governor of Lagos state
Governor of Lagos state

The jurist held that since the the public schools were run  by the government, it was expected for the authorities to direct dress codes, that would align with the constitution and other guidelines to the students.

Wearing of Hijab by some students,  the judge delivered would also disturb the required uniformity and result to inferiority complex among the students.

The suit was therefore resolved against the plaintiff.

MSSN Counsel, Gani Adetola-Kazeem, said there are too many unresolved questions on the case, stating that his client would appeal against the verdict, saying the judgement was not satisfactory.

MSSN filed the suit on May 27, 2013, praying the court to declare ban on use of Hijab by the female students illegal, on the ground that it infringed on the students rights to freedom of thought, religion and education.

It was prompted by rough-handling by a Principal of Kadara Junior Secondary in Ebute Metta of a female student, namely Aisha for wearing Hijab during school hours.