A/Court upturns ban on hijab in Lagos schools
The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday set aside the judgment of a Lagos State High Court which banned the use of hijab in public primary and secondary schools in the state.
In a unanimous judgment by a fiveman panel headed by Justice A.B. Gumel, the Appel Court held that the ban on hijab was a violation of the fundamental rights of the students.
The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos Area Unit, had on May 27, 2013 dragged the Lagos state government before the State High Court over the ban on hijab in schools.
The suit was instituted by the society on behalf of two 15-year-old students who said the ban violated their constitutional rights to freedom of thought, religion and education; but the presiding judge at the lower court, Justice Modupe Onyeaboron, on October 17, 2014 dismissed the suit, saying that the prohibition of hijab over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.
Not satisfied with the decision, the students filed an appeal.
In a lead judgment yesterday, Justice Gumel held that the use of hijab is an Islamic injunction and also an Act of worship, hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing hijab in public schools.
Other members of the five-man panel are Justice M. Fasanmi, Justice A. Jauro, Justice J.S. Ikyegh and Justice I. Jombo Ofor.