Ban On Hijab: Court Fixes September 26 For Judgment

court-hammer-gavel1A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has fixed September 26 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the Muslim Student Association of Nigeria against the Lagos State Government over the use of Hijab by female Muslim students in the state’s primary and secondary schools.

Justice Modupe Onyeabo fixed the date after counsel to the students, Mr Gani Adetola-Kaseem (SAN) and the Lagos State Solicitor-General, Lawal Pedro (SAN) argued and adopted their written submissions.

Mr Adetola-Kaseem in his arguments in court on Friday maintained that the essence of wearing Hijab by Muslim females is to prevent them from tempting people of the opposite sex or being tempted by them and also to protect their chastity.

The lawyer also insisted that it is mandatory for all Muslims who have attained puberty to participate fully in the practice of Islam, including Islamic dressing mode, worship and fasting.

He submitted that from the Islamic point of view, womanhood is determined not by biological age or marriage but by the time a person has attained the age of puberty. This age he says varies between individual. Some females attain puberty as early as the age of nine years while others attain puberty at age 13 or more.

The lawyer therefore urged the court to grant the application because the position of the Lagos State Government violates the religious rights of the applicants and it is the duty of the court to protect them.

In his response, the counsel to the State Government, Mr Pedro, argued that the wearing of uniforms in public primary and secondary schools is for identification of students from different schools in Lagos and also to encourage a sense of unity, discipline, organisation and orderliness amongst the schools.

He also submitted that the clamour and demand for the compulsory use of Hijab on top of the school uniform by Muslim girl students in Lagos is a recent development.

Two Muslim students, of Atunrashe Junior High School, Surulere, Lagos State, Miss Asiyat Abdulkareem and Miss Maryam Oyeniyi, had filed the suit through their fathers – Alhaji Owolabi Abdulkareem and Mr. Suleiman Oyeniyi.

In the suit, they claimed that the restriction of the use of the Hijab, violates their fundamental human rights.

They also argued that banning female students from using Hijab on or outside the premises of any educational institution in Lagos State “is wrongful and unconstitutional”.

The defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye; the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye; and the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Mr. Oyinlomo Danmole.

Court Sets April 29 To Hear Al-Mustapha’s Death Sentence Appeal

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has fixed April 29 for the hearing of the appeal filed by Hamza Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to late Sani Abacha; and Lateef Sofolahan, former Personal Assistant to late Kudirat Abiola.

Presenting the appeal on Friday, Al-Mustapha’s lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo, in his 112-page written address, said the prosecution’s evidence on the defendant’s conviction was not supported by law.

The appellants contended that the death sentence by the lower court was “unwarranted, unreasonable and a manifest miscarriage of justice.”

Mr. Al-Mustapha’s four grounds and Mr. Shofolahan’s five grounds of appeal faulted the judgment of the lower court in admitting the testimonies of Ore Falomo, as well as the contradictory statements of Barnabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt. Rogers) and Mohamamed Abdul (a.k.a Katako).

He urged the court to acquit and discharge his clients.

A Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere on  31 January, 2012 convicted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer t over the murder of of Kudirat Abiola, the wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election.

The defendants have been sentenced to death by hanging.

Kudirat Abiola’s murder case is adjudged to be the longest criminal trials in the nation’s history, lasting more than 12 years with five successive judges during which time the accused persons were held in detention.

The time spent in prison calendar by the defendants is equivalent to 20 years.

The prosecution counsel led by Lawal Pedro had accused Al-Mustapha of ordering Sergeant Barnabas Jabila (Sgt. Rogers), who was then a member of both the Strike Force and Body Guards – military units within the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, to kill Mrs Abiola.

Kudirat Abiola was shot dead on June 4, 1996 along the Lagos/ Ibadan Expressway, Lagos toll gate, opposite Cargo Vision, Ikeja in Lagos.

The prosecution also accused Mr Shofolahan, who was said to be Kudirat’s protocol officer, to have revealed the deceased’s itinerary to her assailants.

According to the prosecution, Mohammed Abdulof was alleged to have driven the car Jabila and Sholohan used to trail and killed Mrs Abiola.

Mr Shofolahan, however, denied that he ever worked for Kudirat in any capacity throughout her lifetime.

The prosecuting lawyers in their 34-page final written address, at the close of the trial on November 10, 2011, urged the court to convict the two accused persons as charged.