The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit has encouraged its members to be courageous to wear the hijab to schools despite the pockets of harassment and victimisation experienced in a few schools.
The Amirah (female president) of MSSNLagos, Azeezah Gidigbih, said this in her 2023 World Hijab Day address, adding that government should sack and prosecute any defaulting teacher or principal.
She explained that the theme of this year’s WHD, ‘Progression not Oppression’, reflected the situation of hijab-wearing students in Nigeria.
“Just like yesterday, we jubilated when the Supreme Court after a legal tussle of about 10 years granted us victory over the use of hijab in schools.
“Indeed, we are making progress. Our efforts are yielding positive results and we won’t rest until we achieve 100 % compliance on the use of hijab by our members,” she added.
While threatening to sue anyone found harassing students and denying them their rights to use the hijab in schools, Gidigbih challenged the Lagos State Government to publicly sanction any erring principal or teacher.
Gidigbih, who appreciated the Lagos State Government for issuing a circular to permit hijab in public schools, lamented the continuous harassment of its members in hijab after the Supreme Court judgment and the state government’s circular last year.
She said, “It is no longer news that in June 2022, the Supreme Court approved for students to use the hijab in all schools. This move has however not deterred some overzealous school administrators who still throw caution to the wind and harass students without regard for the constitution and directives from their employers.
“We recommend that they should be demoted, sacked, prosecuted and jailed instead of just being transferred as witnessed in recent cases. These disobedient elements don’t deserve to be in our fast-growing educational system in Lagos State.
“While we are not against students conforming to school rules and regulations on dress code, we will not allow the effect of the Supreme Court judgment to be watered down and rendered worthless.”
She also hailed the recent appointment of a hijabi Dr Shareefah Adejoke Yusuf as the Tutor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Education District VI by the Lagos State Government.
“Just like every other year, the issues are the same. Muslimahs have shown over time that a whole lot can be achieved with the hijab and like others, we should be allowed to show our capabilities.
“Worthy of note is the recent appointment of a hijabi Dr Shareefah Adejoke Yusuf as the Tutor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Education District VI by the Lagos State government. This is an affirmation that the hijab is not a limiting factor to the success of any individual. We commend the Lagos State for this move and we are certain of more success in the nearest future with more innovation and achievements by other hijabis,” she stated.
On the theme of this year’s World Hijab Day, the MSSNLagos female head commended its members who have weathered the storm at various levels and become successful in their chosen career paths.
She also thanked the Muslim lawyers, teachers, rights groups and others who defended the rights of Muslim students.
Gidigbih, however, urged all stakeholders to encourage students and workers who have chosen to use the hijab and give them equal opportunities to learn and grow to further build the society.