The Lagos State Area Unit of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, MSSN, has warned Tutor-Generals/Permanent Secretaries, principals and teachers, to adhere to the Appeal Court judgement granting the right to wear hijab in public schools in the state.
This came two months after the Court of Appeal granted the right to wear hijab in all public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State, interpreting that sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) guarantees the fundamental human right of wearing hijab. Also, the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, ANCOPSS, has asked members not to direct students to remove or seize hijab.
Amir of the MSSN, Lagos State, Mr. Saheed Ashafa, who gave the warning, yesterday, in a statement, insisted that students should neither be punished, harassed nor victimised for wearing hijab within and outside the school premises. He stated that: “Though, we do not expect any teacher to act to the contrary, if they do, we urge our members to ensure that they resist removing the hijab with their own hands.
They should ensure that the teacher or overzealous principal do it themselves. And after any of the education stakeholders does that, he or she should be prepared for legal and mass actions.” Reminding the stakeholders that the right to wear hijab has been granted in Lagos State-owned public schools, Ashafa said: “It will not be fair for any tutor-general, principal or teacher to order any student to remove their hijab; such action amount to committing contempt of court.
The statement read: “A situation where a principal or teacher will be seen punishing, threatening, assaulting or harassing a student for wearing hijab, after the judiciary has granted it, will amount to not only contempt of court but a betrayal of literacy, ridiculing of education and an abuse of reasoning.
“We plead that all the stakeholders in education should be law abiding and practicalise what they have been teaching us as students. We commend our teachers for their efforts from inception and hope that as students’ resume, they will not demonstrate to us how to disobey the constitution and judiciary.”