• The Hijab Protesters
The Osun State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has threatened a showdown if the State Government implements a recent judgment of the State High Court affirming the right of female Muslim students to wear hijab on their school uniforms during the school hours.
The Rauf Aregbesola administration in 2013 introduced a reclassification and merger policy of public schools in the state, a move that resulted in a crisis at Baptist High School, Iwo, after female Muslim students wore Hijab on their school uniforms.
In the wake of the protests that greeted the reclassification and merger policy at the time, Gov. Aregbesola said his administration neither approved nor disapproved the use of hijab in any school, stressing that it was the court’s position that the status quo ante be maintained until the case was determined.
Delivering judgment last Friday in the case instituted by the Osun State Muslim community against the State Government, Justice Jide Falola of Osun State High Court, ruled that female Muslim students in public schools in the state can wear hijab on their school uniforms during the school hours.
The Muslim community dragged the state government to court in defence of the right of female Muslim students in the state.
Reacting to the ruling in a Communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting of the State CAN Exco, the Heads of Blocks and Heads of Churches held in Osogbo, the state capital yesterday, the association warned that it would direct Christian students in public schools in the state to start wearing church garments to school once Muslim female students start using hijab in schools.
The CAN further said it could not agree with the judgment, expressing the belief that the ruling represents premeditated adjudication that runs against the printed grain of legal submissions made before the judge.
The Communiqué, which was signed by Osun State CAN Chairman, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya, said the judgment would be appealed.
It said: “Specifically, Justice Jide Falola deeply violated the principle of fair hearing when he refused and or failed to hear, let alone rule, one way or the other, on the application for a joinder in the case properly filed and brought to his attention in open court by the interested parties whose schools were taken over forcefully by the government and stood to be affected by the judgment he later proceeded to deliver”.
“The state government must be wary about giving effect to this judgment, which we suspect was masterminded by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in line with his Islamization Agenda.
“Where the Osun State Government is inclined to implementing the judgment, Christian students in all public schools will have no choice but to start wearing Christian garments and vestments as part of their school uniform for the propagation of our own faith”, CAN threatened.