The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has requested that the Lagos State Ministry of Education look into the matter and take action against the Eletu Odibo Junior High School principal and other instructors responsible for stealing a student’s scarf.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, director of MURIC, announced the decision in a statement on Thursday.
“Our attention has been attracted to an unfortunate incident in which the Eletu Odibo Junior High School administrator, Mrs. Christiana Sofuye, ordered the forcible removal of a female student’s scarf from her head during a school assembly. The kid was Mujeebah AbdulQadri, a JSS 2 student.
“This action is provocative, unlawful, illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional. Apart from constituting assault on the person of an innocent girl child, it is an act of contempt of the Supreme Court ruling of 17th July, 2022 which legitimised the use of hijab in Lagos schools.
“It is also an act of willful disobedience to constituted authority particularly coming after the state government had issued a clear directive via an official circular that was given wide publicity. This forceful removal is reckless, thoughtless and barbaric,” Akintola said.
Attacking Muslim female pupils because they are wearing the hijab, in his opinion, constitutes child abuse and a blatant infraction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every child has the right to an education, according to Article 28 of the UN Convention.
In Section 34(b)&(c) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, as amended (2011), it is stated that “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person.” Akintola expressed regret that AbdulQadri’s personal dignity had been violated when her hijab was taken from her head during the school assembly. As a result, the principal should be made aware of this.
“Furthermore, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 also says, ‘Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.’
“We are shocked to our marrows that Mrs. Sofuye could shun the Lagos State circular of 6th December, 2022 which ordered school administrators to allow the use of hijab. More disturbing is that no action has been taken against the culprits nine days after the ugly incident.
“Although MURIC does not condone violence, certain elements outside mainstream Islamic organisations in the state who are sympathetic to the cause of the victim of this act of unprovoked aggression and who also believe that nobody has the monopoly of violence may be tempted to take the law into their hands by physically confronting those who subject their loved ones either within or outside the school’s premises.
“This can be avoided by ensuring that justice is carried out and by giving publicity to action or actions taken by the authorities. This is why the Ministry of Education needs to move fast in ensuring swift and commensurate disciplinary action against the culprits. Apart from violating the law, there must be consequences for causing embarrassment to the state government.”
The head of MURIC stated that in order to ease tension among Lagos Muslims, the school administrator and instructors responsible for the incident must not only be penalized for their resistance but also appear to have received proper reprimands.
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