The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria has petitioned the Lagos state government to resolve the hijab crisis in the state.
The Muslim group asked the state government to obey the court ruling on hijab by issuing a circular to all district heads and principals to allow pupils to wear the hijab
The state government in its reaction, however, appealed to appealed to all stakeholders to maintain peace while the Supreme Court ruling on the matter is being awaited
The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos state, has asked Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to issue a policy circular to resolve the crisis emanating from the use of hijab in public schools in the state.
The MSSN, in a petition to the governor dated Tuesday, September 9, said a judgement of the Court of Appeal on Thursday, July 21, 2016, stated that wearing of hijab by pupils was their fundamental human rights.
In the petition, the MSSN urged the governor to obey the court ruling by issuing a circular to all district heads and principals to allow pupils to wear the hijab.
The petition read in part: “The ongoing harassment of our members is not only unconstitutional but also a contempt. “The wave of discriminations, harassment and maltreatment have begun to rear its ugly head in different schools in Lagos state again despite the subsisting Court of Appeal ruling. “We demand that you use your good offices to ensure a circular complying with the Court of Appeal judgement is urgently issued and pasted in all schools’ notice boards.”
Recall that a former principal of Isolo High School, Mrs J. O. Shadare, had suspended five pupils of the school for wearing hijab. Shadare was later redeployed over the matter.
Following the petition, the Lagos state government in a statement sent to NAIJ.com by Adesegun Ogundeji, the deputy director of public affairs, Ministry of Education, appealed to all stakeholders in the contentious issue of wearing Hijab in public Schools to maintain peace, law and order while the Supreme Court ruling on the matter is being awaited.
The statement made available on Saturday, September 22, said that the deputy governor of Lagos state and superintendent of the education sector, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, said the government is working assiduously to resolve the matter.
Adebule said that in the interim, the principal of the affected school has been redeployed to douse tension and allow for thorough investigation into the matter. The deputy governor admonished the public to be patient with the government in dealing with the matter as according to her “it is important for the general public to know that there is Public Service Rule which must be adhered to strictly in dealing with public servants in the event that they are found culpable of any charges”.
The Ministry of Education, she opined cannot unilaterally do anything until the due process is completed. She acknowledged letters addressed to her by Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, Muslim Students Society of Nigeria and Muslim Forum of Isolo over the issue and assured that their grievances are being looked into.
She revealed that a meeting was held with Muslim Groups and the Tutor General/Permanent Secretary of Education District VI, Mrs Olufunmilayo Onadipe last week while she has directed that a wider meeting of all stakeholders be held on Monday, September, 24 at the Ministry of Education where all issues are expected to be resolved.
The principal, Mrs J O Sadare reportedly earlier announced that students should no longer wear hijab to school. However, while some students obeyed the new rule, five students flouted it as they showed up at school the following week with their hijabs on. This action led to the principal sending them home with a letter inviting their parents to the school the next day.