COURT DEFERS HEARING ON USE OF HIJAB IN OSUN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

AYOBAMI AGBOOLA

An Osogbo high court presided over by Justice Oyejide Falola, has postponed hearing in a pending case demanding enforcement of the use of hijab by pupils in public schools in the State of Osun, filed by the Muslim community  in the state.

The judge contended that the case which was scheduled for  hearing on Monday, May 13, 2013 was adjourned following the demands by the Nigeria Association of Muslim Lawyers and the Nigeria Association of Christian Lawyers who were invited, for legal advice on the matter.

Justice Falola stressed that the two groups were major stakeholders in the religious indifference between the Christian Association of Nigeria, Osun State chapter under the leadership of Superior Evangelist Aladeseye and their Muslims counterpart under the chairmanship of Sheik Salaudeen Olayiwola, pointing out that though the lawyers are legal minds, they are products of the conflicting parties.

Barrister Kazim Babatunde and other leading counsels who represented the interest of the plaintiff-the Muslims, however, indicated their readiness for the hearing while the Attorney General of the state, Wale Afolabi charged the court to give him  five days to react to an affidavit from the Muslims’ counsels and thereby agreed with the counsel to the Christians, Barrister Femi Ayandokun together with his learned friends, on their demands for adjournment in other to enable them file the needed documents to establish their case.

On the account of the demands of the concerned parties’ counsels and the nature of the crisis, Justice Jide Falola, adjourned the case till 25th of June for definite hearing.

The Muslim community had on 14th of February, 2013 filed a suit before Justice Jide Falola, against the state government, seeking for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the female Muslim students to practice their religion.

The suit is seeking for an order of the court compelling the state government to declare the use of Hijab as legal and acceptable in all the government owned primary and secondary schools across the state in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

When the case came up on Thursday, March 21st for ruling, the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Osun State chapter appeared in court with an application to be joined in the suit.

According to the Counsel to the CAN, Mr Femi Ayandokun said the application to join the suit, came on the heel of the fact that the determination of the suit and the decision of the court will have effect on the association.

Ayandokun who argued that using hijab in Christian established schools was strange to Christianity, described it as an alien idea.

The counsel submitted that the CAN has right to join the suit since most of the government public schools are established by the Christians.

However, the CAN application was accepted and it has been joined as defendant in the suit on March 21, 3013 before the case was adjourned till May 13, 2013.

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