The ruling of the Ogun State court against the use of hijab by a school girl, has been condemned by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
The Director of MURIC, Prof Isiaq Akintola described the judgment by Justice Bamgbose Alabi of the Abeokuta High Court in Ogun State, as judicial wishy-washy.
He however, appealed to Muslims in Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria in general to remain calm. ‘It may be a long road but we will get there one day. Nonetheless, the road must not be painted in red,” he said.
Justice Alabi had earlier ruled “the use of hijab is considered a fundamental human right only for adults”.
This formed the basis of his judgment on Thursday 4th June, 2020 in a case filed by Aishat Abdul-Aleem, an 11-year old Muslim girl who was sent out of school at the Gateway Secondary School, Abeokuta in December 2018.
Akintola said: “We reject this judgment in its totality. What manner of judicial declaration is this? Is the judge telling us that minors have no religion, no fundamental human rights, not even a dot in social statistics?
“Is he telling us that minors do not exist? Why are minors counted during census? Why do we register them at birth? Is the killing of a minor judiciable or not?
“This judgment suffers from desertification of a human face. It has no soul. It is judicial namby-pamby,” he stressed.
Akintola added that the ruling contradicted Section 38 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that “No person attending any place of education shall be required … to take part in …ceremony or observance (which) relates to a religion other than his own or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian.”
“It placed them under the umbrella of their parents’ or guardians’ inalienable rights. He further stated. By this arbitrary judgment, the judge has elected to discriminate against children on account of age.”
“This is contrary to Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What will happen if a case of rape of a minor is brought to this court? Can minors ever get redress in this court? Do minors even exist as far as this court is concerned?”
“The judgment in the case of Aishat Abdul-Aleem is a judicial somersault. It is as arbitrary as it is absurd. It is equally an unprecedented miscarriage of justice. It cannot hold any water. We charge the litigants to approach an appellate court without delay,” Akintola charged.
“The honourable justice has simply returned Ogun State to the Stone Age. By ruling that minors are not covered in fundamental human right to use hijab, the court has denied Muslim parents the opportunity to train their children in the use of hijab from childhood.
“The Abeokuta ruling is another example of the persecution of Muslims in Yoruba land. It is only in Yoruba land that Muslims must approach the courts before they can secure their Allah-given fundamental human rights.”
“It is only in Yoruba land that Muslims suffer psychological trauma on account of the persecution and humiliation that their children go through in the schools.” He said.