Friday, 31 May 2013
The endless hijab saga: Governor Fashola seeks out of court settlement +'We'll Not Relent Until Victory is Achieved' - Alhaji Qasim Badrudeen By Sulaiman Alamutu
The Lagos State Government is seeking an out of court settlement in the suit filed against it by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit over the victimization of Muslim girls wearing Hijab in state public schools.
When the case came up for first hearing before Justice J.O.K Oyewole of the Lagos High Court Ikeja today, counsel to the state government, S.A Ajanaku, said no defense had been filed in the case, but added that steps had already been initiated towards settlement of the matter.
He pleaded with the judge to allow the government more time to consummate the steps already initiated.
However, counsel to the MSSN Lagos State Area Unit Barrister Hassan .A. Fajimite, who led other nine lawyers to the court, expressed surprise at the request of the state counsel, saying that they were not aware or informed of any move by the state government to settle the case. He nevertheless obliged to the option.
Justice Oyewole thereafter asked the parties to meet and work out terms of the settlement and report back to the court on July 10, 2013.
Meanwhile, members of the MSSN and other Islamic organizations, who thronged the court premises for the case, later embarked on a peaceful protest to Ikeja under-bridge and back to the old secretariat mosque beside the high court.
They carried placards with inscriptions like ‘Hijab is our right,’ ‘Why must Lagos State Government compete with God?’ ‘Hijab our pride,’ ‘Nudity is not our way,’ and others.
Addressing the people, the Amir Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit, Alhaji Qasim Badrudeen, urged all Muslims in the state to remain calm and peaceful throughout the period the hearing of the case would last.
He also thanked all Islamic organizations that came to solidarise with the MSSN on the Hijab issue promising that the society would not relent until victory is achieved.
It would be recalled that the MSSN Lagos State Area Unit had taken the state government to court over persistent victimization of Muslim girls using Hijab by some secondary school principals in the state.
One of them Aisha Alabi of Kadara Junior Grammar School, Ebute Metta was given 43 strokes of the cane by her principal, Mrs. E.C Ukpaka for wearing Hijab in the school premises.
Bareera Tajudeen of Mafoluku Senior Grammar School, Oshodi was also harassed by her principal, Mrs. Elizabeth Omidele who removed her Hijab and stepped on it outside the school premises.