The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit (MSSN Lagos) has accused the Lagos State Government of misinforming the general public about the judgment of the Court of Appeal granting the right to wear hijab in public schools.
The Amir (president) of the MSSN Lagos, Saheed Ashafa, said this while reacting to a statement credited to the Lagos State Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem.
The AG had in a statement issued on Tuesday stated that “it was misleading and an attempt to misrepresent the general public that the right to wear hijab has been granted in Lagos State-owned public schools when the appeal process has not been exhausted”.
But Ashafa explained that the position of the AG was not only misinforming but also lacked substance.
The Amir also accused the LASG AG of wilful invalidation of the position of the Court of Appeal, stating that “no counter judgement is available yet”.
Recall that Court of Appeal in its judgment of 21st July, 2016 upturned the judgment of the High Court of Lagos State by granting the use of hijab.
The leader of Muslim students in Lagos State said, “The statement by the AG is a misrepresentation of the Court of Appeal judgment. It is manipulative and contains falsehood, and it (the statement) is an obvious attempt to mislead the general public.
“The current judgement is that students can put on hijab in Lagos State public schools. In the absence of any other judgement setting aside the current one which grants the right to wear hijab, the Lagos State AG has no right to pronounce the most current judgement invalid for any reason.
“We don’t expect him to be banking on the Lagos State High Court judgement when a higher court (the Court of Appeal) already gave a counter verdict. Doing so is a deliberate action to confuse the general public.
“However, it is shocking to confirm that the Lagos State Government is playing politics with a case that concerns the fundamental human right of its citizens and tax payers. If not, why is the government giving its own verdict against a reputable court of justice.
Ashafa subsequently called on stakeholders in Lagos State to advise the government and its agents from crisis-brewing statements.
He added, “Those who are co-lovers of peace like us should caution , with strong voice, the Lagos State Government not to attempt any manipulation, misinformation or cause confusion.
“When the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja granted the LASG a favourable judgment, we neither denounced it nor incited our members but we simply complied and went on appeal. But since we got the Court of Appeal judgment, the agents and officials of LASG have been harassing, intimidating, beating our members. Instead of the AG to caution the officials he is misrepresenting the judgment.
“We wish to assure the general public that we will continue to be law abiding regardless of any statement by some agents of government.”
While saying that the statement by the AG was needless, Ashafa expressed displeasure that ”the statement clearly showed that the few principals still punishing and intimidating students who wear the hijab are acting on government’s tacit approval to do so!
“Embarrassingly, the statement also betrayed the ethos which the current administration in Lagos State is being praised for. It reduced respect for the government and capable of breaching the cordial relationship that has been maintained both before and after the Court of Appeal verdict on this matter.”
He said if any Muslim female student had any difficulty in exercising the right to wear hijab in any public school in Lagos State, they should call or send a text message to 08035024464 or 08181468028.”