Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked the Lagos State Ministry of Education to look into what happened and take action against the Eletu Odibo Junior High School principal and other teachers who took a student’s hijab.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, who is in charge of MURIC, made the call in a statement on Thursday.
“Our attention has been drawn to an ugly scene in which Mrs. Christiana Sofuye, the principal of Eletu Odibo Junior High School, ordered a female student, Mujeebah AbdulQadri, a JSS 2 student at the school, to have her hijab forcibly taken off during the school assembly.
“This action is rude, illegal, illegitimate, and against the Constitution. Aside from being an assault on an innocent girl child, it is also a disobedience of the Supreme Court’s ruling from July 17, 2022, which made it legal for girls to wear hijabs in Lagos schools.
“It is also an act of willful disobedience to established authority, especially since the state government had already given a clear order in an official circular that got a lot of attention.” “This forced removal is dangerous, thoughtless, and cruel,” said Akintola.
He says that attacking Muslim female students because they wear hijab is child abuse and a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 28 of the UN Convention says that every child has the right to go to school.
Akintola was upset that AbdulQadri’s personal dignity had been hurt when her hijab was taken from her head at the school assembly. The principal should be told that Section 34 (b) and (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011 says, “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person.”
He added, “Also, Article 4, Clause 1 and 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights says, “Human beings are inviolable. Every person has the right to respect for his or her life and body.
“We can’t believe Mrs. Sofuye didn’t care about the Lagos State circular from December 6, 2022, which told school administrators to let people wear hijabs. Worse, nine days after the ugly event, nothing has been done to stop the people who did it.
“MURIC does not support violence, but there may be people outside of the main Islamic organizations in the state who are sympathetic to the victim of this unprovoked act of aggression and who also believe that no one has a monopoly on violence who may be tempted to break the law by physically confronting those who subject their loved ones, either inside or outside of the school.”
“This can be stopped by making sure that justice is done and letting people know what the authorities are doing. This is why the Ministry of Education needs to move quickly to make sure that the people who did this get punished quickly and appropriately. Aside from breaking the law, there should be consequences for making the state government look bad.
The head of MURIC said that the school principal and teachers who did it should not only be punished for being stubborn, but they should also be seen to have been scolded enough to ease tensions among Muslims in Lagos.