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Appeal Court in Lagos Says Muslim Students Are Free to Wear Hijab to School




african girl hijab
A special panel of the Court of Appeal in Lagos on Thursday, set aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court which held that the ban on Hijab (Muslim Headscarf) by the Lagos State Government, was not unconstitutional.

The special panel of the appellate court presided by Justice A. B. Gumel, held that the appeal was meritorious and allowed same.

The Lagos State Government had sometime in 2013, placed a ban on wearing of the hijab in schools, on the grounds that it did not constitute a part of the approved school uniform for students.

In reaction, two female students had on May 27, 2013, filed a suit under the aegis of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), challenging the ban as being an infringement on their rights to freedom of thought and religion.

Justice Modupe Onyeabor of the Ikeja High Court had in a judgment, dismissed the suit on the grounds that the ban did not constitute a rights infringement.

The judge had held that the prohibition of Hijab over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s decision, the students had appealed the verdict and urged the appellate court to upturn same.

In his lead judgement on Thursday, Justice Ali Gumel held that the use of hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship.

The judge further held that it will constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing hijab in public schools.

Resolving all the five issues raised in favour of the appellants, the appellate court held that the lower court erred in law when it held that ban on hijab was a policy of the Lagos State Government.

The court noted that no circular was presented before the lower court to show that it was a policy of Lagos State, adding that it is trite law that he who asserts must prove.

The appellate court further held that if there was a policy, such policy ought to have emanated from the state House of Assembly which is the legislative arm, and not from the executive arm of government.

Consequently, the court held that the fundamental rights of female Muslim students as enshrined in section 38 (1) of the 1999 constitution was violated by the respondent.

The court also dismissed the argument of Lagos State that it made exceptions by allowing female muslim students to wear hijab during prayers.

Other Justices in the five-man panel include: Justice M. Fasanmi, Justice A. Jauro, Justice J.S. Ikejegh and Justice I. Jombo Ofor.

Photo Credit: Alan Gignoux | Dreamstime


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Mr. Egghead

    July 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Religion is slowly permeating every facet of public life and nothing is now ever viewed as neutral. Just look at the mess Aregbesola instigated in Osun state.

    Regardless, I’m glad the MSSN have gotten their “rights” re-affirmed by the court. I only hope they extend the same privilege to adherents of other religions:
    -like when they wanted NYSC postponed because it would clash with Ramadan
    -like when they support state government laws that jail people who ‘blaspheme’ their prophet (Note: blasphemy here can mean anything they want it to mean)

  2. Femi

    July 21, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I’m voting Trump. Enough of this bullshit

    • ATL's finest

      July 22, 2016 at 1:33 am

      ?????????lmao! Ok.. Why am I not surprised? They always win don’t they? Beside, very soon it will be passed on as one of the laws in Nigeria smh. It just never ends with some stupid BS.

  3. ElessarisElendil

    July 22, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Great, another powder keg thrown on the pile. Don’t you just love Nigeria.

  4. Brains.

    July 22, 2016 at 1:35 am

    “”In his lead judgement on Thursday, Justice Ali Gumel held that the use of hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship.””

    Is Nigeria an islamic state? NO.
    Are schools places of worship? NO.

  5. Diddy

    July 22, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Let the celebration begins,the federal government banned wearing of hijab in the northern part of the country cos they saw it as a tool for the boko garam, now is been approved by some I don’t know how to describe these judges all in the name of rights,well there is a saying that goes like this when you go to fetch insect infested firewood you are equally inviting the lizard for celebration

  6. Zaey

    July 22, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Alhamdulillah! Finally😍

  7. Pra

    July 22, 2016 at 5:32 am

    This is unrelated but I often wonder why Muslims are able to have prayer rooms in school but others are denied that right(I am referring to a public school I attended in America) and can leave work to celebrate the end of Ramadan but Christians are unable to leave to attend church when it is Christmas(my work place). This is also unrelated but it reminds me of the article about how a Muslim woman sued a popular clothing store because they wouldn’t allow her to wear a hijab, knowing fully well that headscarfs WERE NOT allowed in the dress code. Gladly, she lost her case.

  8. Ezinne Osuagwu

    July 22, 2016 at 9:58 am

    The school is not a place of prayer. Uniforms were made to be uniform among all students. I remember we weren’t allowed to wear Rosaries or scapula on the school premises.
    That’s beside the point anyway. Na wetin dey inside pikin head we dey find, no be wetin dey on top pikin head.

    • Boladale

      July 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

      I wonder o, not even with all these news about Boko Haram invading Lagos. Some people are just fools.

    • obongawan

      August 2, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      If a school is not a place of prayer, then morning assembly and teaching Christian Religious Studies should be abolished.

  9. Ezinne Osuagwu

    July 22, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Soon, students will have to be excused at prayer times to say their prayers during school hours. Wouldn’t it be nice if my kids could attend midday mass every day? #ThinkingOutLoud

  10. sigh

    July 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

    This is beyond the hijab thingy, Lord help us. Nigeria used to be united but it seems muslims want to divide us. Tribe didnt divide us they wanna use religion.

  11. tiana

    July 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    muslim president – he will pass all the laws to suit his brothers and sisters before he departs post.

  12. Amaa

    July 22, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Off to the Supreme Court let’s see what happens

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