Absence of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja on Wednesday stalled the hearing of a suit challenging the proposed ban on the use of Hijab by female Muslim pupils in public schools in the state.
The suit was instituted by two minors and the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria against the Lagos State Government.
Oyewole had fixed Wednesday for the parties to report the progress in their bid to settle the matter out of court
The suit was subsequently adjourned till October 28.
The minors – Miss Asiyat Abdulkareem and Miss Maryam Oyeniyi – who are the first and second applicants respectively, are 12 years old and pupils of Atunrashe Junior High School, Surulere, Lagos State.
The minors are suing the government through their fathers – Alhaji Owolabi Abdulkareem and Mr. Suleiman Oyeniyi.
Joined as respondents in the suit are the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, and Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Mr. Oyinlomo Danmole.
The applicants, through their counsel, Mr. M Sanni, contended that banning female students from using Hijab on or outside the premises of any educational institution in Lagos State “is wrongful and unconstitutional”.
They are urging the court to declare the act as “wrong and unconstitutional as same constitutes a violation of their (the applicants’) rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom from discrimination and rights of human persons and right to education.”
They are also seeking the court to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from “further interfering or infringing in any manner on the fundamental rights of the first and second applicants and other female Muslim students”
Justice Oyewole had at the previous proceedings on May 27 urged parties to explore an out-of-court settlement of the dispute.
Counsel for the state government, Mr. Samuel Ajanaku, had told the court that the state had yet to file any processes (court papers) in the suit.