The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on Tuesday heard the motion – stay of execution – filed by the Lagos State Government and struck it out.
The case, CA/L/135/15, is between Lagos State Government, Asiyat AbdulKareem (through her father), Moriam Oyeniyi and Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.
The struck motion was asking the court to stop the use of hijab in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State pending the ruling of the Supreme Court on the matter.
After hearing from both parties, the presiding justice, Muhammad Garba, struck out the motion.
With the current ruling, students in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State can now wear hijab to school without harassment unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise.
Earlier, the Lagos State Government on Thursday, July 21, 2016 lost at the Court of Appeal when a full panel of the court gave approval to the Muslim students to use hijab to school.
The Amir (President) of MSSN Lagos State Area Unit, Saheed Ashafa, applauded the judgement, saying that the favourable outcome was expected.
According to him, the judgement will further strengthen fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.
He stated that the MSSN Lagos would not entertain any act or form of harassment after the current judgement.
He said, “We applaud the judgement as this is not unexpected. The position of the law is very clear on the subject matter. This matter once more assure us that all hope is not lost on having a redeemed society.
“It gladdens to see that the injunction which the LASG is using as a basis to deny the implementation of the Court of Appeal judgement has been struck out.
“We hereby urge all stakeholders to be law abiding for a peaceful implementation of the judgement. There should be no violation of human rights against our Students while we expect an immediate implementation of the judgement in all schools across the state.”
While congratulating and thanking Muslims on the recent victory, Mr. Ashafa said, “We congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah (community) and urge our Muslim students to uphold decency and cleanliness which are the hallmark of Islam while exercising their right.”
A special constituted panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on July 21, 2016 unanimously set aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court which banned students in public primary and secondary schools in the state from putting on the hijab with their school uniforms.
The special panel of the court presided over by Justice A.B. Gumel held that the appeal was meritorious and should be allowed.
In his lead judgment, Justice Gumel held that the use of the hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship, hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing the hijab in public schools.
Resolving all the five issues raised in favour of the appellants, the appellate court held that the lower court erred in law when it held that the ban on hijabs was a policy of the Lagos State Government (respondent).
Other justices in the five-member panel were M. Fasanmi, A. Jauro, J.S. Ikyegh and I. Jombo Ofor.
Justice Modupe Onyeabor of an Ikeja High Court had on October 17, 2014, dismissed the suit instituted against the Lagos State Government by two 12-year-old girls under the aegis of the MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit.
Dissatisfied, the appellants urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment and protect their constitutional rights.
The government had banned the use of the hijab, arguing that it was not part of the approved school uniform for pupils.
Following the ban, the students filed the suit on May 27, 2015, seeking redress and asked the court to declare the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, religion and education.
In her judgment, Mrs. Onyeabor held that the prohibition of the wearing of hijabs over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.
According to her, the ban did not violate Sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as claimed by the plaintiffs.