By Adeyemi Adeleye
The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit, has called on the state government to issue within 30 days a circular that allows Muslim female students to wear hijab, following Supreme Court ruling.
Malam Miftahudeen Thanni, the President, MSSN, Lagos chapter made this call at a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday granted the use of hijab (Islamic veil) by female Muslim students in Lagos State Government-owned schools, delivering a judgment in an appeal – Lagos State Govt. and Mrs V. Asiyat AbdulKareem with suit number SC/910/16.
Congratulating the entire Muslim women and girl-child, Thanni said that the ruling had affirmed and restored their right to dress in accordance with their religious dictate after 10 years of legal battle, discrimination and resistance.
“Henceforth, we call on the government to sanction the indiscipline, unlawful and religious bigots among its teaching workforce.
“The Lagos State Government should issue a circular within 30 days after the delivery of the judgement allowing Hijab.
” We urge the Lagos State Government to sanction officials who go against the Supreme Court judgment,” Thanni said.
According to him, the Lagos State Government should hold a meeting with MSSN Lagos, Muslim leaders and other Islamic organisations on the size and modalities of using the hijab.
He also called on other state governments to stop victimising Muslim students for using hijab after the judgement.
The president said: “We call on all Muslims to be lawful and report any violation to the appropriate quarters.
“We are a peaceful community and we have respect for democratic values and the rule of law, but we will no longer allow our fundamental human rights to be tampered upon.
“It’s utterly sad that we are experiencing too much of assaults and abuses on the Muslim female folks, because they are wearing hijab.
“It portends a serious threat for our peaceful coexistence as a nation. This discrimination is too much, and it has to stop.”
According to Thanni, now that the Supreme Court has given its verdict, the government has to criminalise assaults against people wearing hijab.
“The defaulters now risk jail terms.
“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.
“No Muslim girl should ever be told to choose between her faith and education. Both are her rights.
“Hijab is our golden shield and we can’t do without it. It is also very good for societal growth. People who put it on should be seen as agents of societal reform and embraced.
“We understand that Nigeria is a multi-religious country, we want to see it grow and that will come through the decency, and morality among other virtues that Hijab represents,” he added.
Speaking, Mr Adetola-Kazeem, one of the counsels that represented the complainants from the lower court to the Supreme Court, noted that the case started in 2012 when some secondary schools girls were abused for wearing Hijab in their various.
He said that subsequent to various agitations, the Muslim Students Society in conjunction with Muslims Rights Association of Nigeria took the case to the High Court in Lagos State, where the group lost, but the Appeal and Supreme Courts ruled in their favour.
Ademola-Kazeem said: “This has now become a law without any doubt.The ruling of the Supreme Court was very emphatic on the right of the Muslim girl-child and indeed every Muslim women across the federation to use their hijab in line with the constitution.
“This has put the issue to rest. If there is anyone who flouts this decision, then we know what to do. Of course that person would have committed contempt of the court.”
Hajia Basheerat Majekodunmi, the female President, MSSN, who described the ruling as heartwarming, said that the society was ready to take up anyone that tramples against the law.
Commenting, the MSSN National President, Malam Shehu, Abubakar in his address delivered Mr Hamzah Abdulfattah, the General Secretary of MSSN, Lagos, applauded the decision of the supreme court to uphold the right or Muslims.
Abubakar commended the courage of the panel of justices to stopping what he described as unwarranted and abuse of the constitution.