Lagos Govt loses again as Supreme Court upholds use of hijab in schools

 The Supreme Court has granted the use of hijab by female Muslim students in Lagos public schools.

Muslim students with hijabs on in a Lagos public school. (Premium Times)

The apex court on Friday, June 17, 2022, gave the judgment in an appeal filed by the Lagos State Government.

Dismissing the state government’s appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal which ruled that the ban on hijab was discriminatory against Muslim students in the state.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun held that the ban on hijab was discriminatory against Muslim students in Lagos State.

The judge also ruled that the ban violated the Muslim students’ rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and the dignity of human persons.

Recall that Lagos State Government had during the administration of former Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola banned the use of the hijab in the state-owned public schools.

The state government argued that hijab was not part of the approved school uniform for students.

The ban got legal backing in October 2014, when Justice Modupe Onyeabo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, validated the stand of the state government.

Following the ban, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) filed a suit in 2015 to seek and ask the court to declare the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, religion, and education.

In 2016, an appeal court overruled the Lagos High Court judgement on the ban and upheld the use of hijab in primary and secondary schools in Lagos.

A five-man special appellate court panel headed by Justice A.B. Gumel held that wearing the hijab was an Islamic injunction and an act of worship required of Muslims.

The judge also held that the use of hijab by Muslim pupils could not cause disunity, distraction and discrimination against students of other faiths as declared by Justice Onyeabo.

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