Friday 24 October 2014

Lagos State Attorney General defends ban on Hijabs in Lagos schools

The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Rahman Ade Ipaye, has expressed appreciation of the judgment of the Ikeja High Court which upheld the ban on hijabs in primary and secondary schools in the state.

Ipaye, in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mrs. Bola Akingbade, said the state government was in the forefront of human rights promotion in Nigeria and it would not deny its citizens their religious rights.

Justice Modupe Onyeabo had last Friday dismissed and ruled against the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) suit against the Lagos State government, saying such practice would affect the secular nature of state.

The Attorney-General therefore observed that no right was absolute and that sometimes, public interest would justify some limitations, adding that uniforms are adopted for school children at the formative stages to encourage a sense of unity, discipline, organisation and orderliness and not to create disunity.

“We do not want school children at this age to relate on the basis of obvious religious or social classification, hence the adoption of the uniform,” he noted.
Ipaye noted that once deviations are allowed, conscious or unconscious group affiliations would crop up and this would promote prejudices, limit interactions and weaken the sense of unity among students of the same school.
“With uniforms, students, teachers and other staff are less likely to focus on dressing or appearance as a means of determining status, religion or other socio-cultural affiliations.

“Every student is equal and students are not able to tease or bully each other about the style, color or quality of their clothing or their religious, social or cultural background’, he added.
According to him, the state government’s decision to refuse variations to the uniforms prescribed for use in primary and secondary schools “was not an easy one,” but he stressed that it was a position reached after extensive deliberations and consultations.

Credit: Shola Oyeyipo/ThisDay

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