By Semirat Atanda
Justice Amina Augie of the court of appeal in Lagos on Tuesday adjourned hearing of an appeal, challenging ban of hijab(head covering for muslim women) in public and private secondary schools in Lagos.
She held that the matter was a constitutional matter and must be heard a five-man panel of the court.
She adjourned the hearing of an appeal to enable the appellants write to the court of appeal to constitute a full panel of the court.
“The appeal is very sensitive since it involves the rights of the applicants, who are muslims, to wear hijab over their school uniform in accordance with their religious beliefs. We are a three-man panel and more importantly we are all muslim panel”, she added.
The Lagos state government had banned the use of hijab on the grounds, that it was not part of the approved school uniform for pupils.
Following the ban, the two girls filed the suit on May 27, 2013, seeking redress and asking the court to declare the ban as a violation of their rights to freedom of thought, religion and education.
It will be recalled that Justice Modupe Onyeabor of an Ikeja High Court on Oct. 17, 2014 dismissed a suit against the Lagos state government by the girls.
She held thatý, the prohibition of hijab over school uniform within and outside school was not discriminatory.
In her statement, the ban did not violate sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 constitution as claimed by the plaintiff.
She said, the government has a duty to preserve the secular nature of the affected institution as argued by former Lagos state solicitor-General Mr Lawal Pedro ( SAN )
According to her, the use of uniform engenders uniformity sought by the government in coming up with the dress code would be destroyed if the prayers were granted.