ABEOKUTA – League of Imams and Alfas in Ogun state have asked all female muslim students to start using Hijab in public schools in the state.
The Islamic leaders made the declaration rising from their December meeting with the state government on the need for their female children to adorn themselves with hijab on the school uniform.
The league in a statement on Tuesday signed by its Secretary General, Sheikh Tajudeen Adewunmi said the commencement of the usage of hijab starts January 9, 2023 when the students resume for their second term.
The league also said only “desiring and willing female Muslim students could adorn white colour shoulder length cape hijab as they resume for the second term of the 2022/2023 academic session on Monday 9th January, 2023 and henceforth without any fear of molestation or punishment.”
The statement reads in part, “as a critical stakeholder in Ogun State and the country at large, and on behalf of Muslims in Ogun state (the Muslim Ummah) and as leaders of a people, we have the responsibility to respond to their legitimate concerns.
“At the end of our December 2022 general meeting where many issues bothering on the welfare of the Ummah were discussed, we resolved to express the opinion of the Muslim community (the Ummah) in the state as it concerns the following issues:
“Many female muslim students in Nigeria, and Ogun State in particular have continued to feature unnecessarily in many protracted cases of infringements on their rights in their quest to practice their religion especially as regards the use of hijab in schools.
“However, all doubts or controversies on the matter have been put to rest by the pronouncement of the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which reaffirmed the rights of Muslim students in Nigerian Schools to use hijab as they so wished.
“It should also be put on record that many agencies of the Ogun state government have always expressed that there is no law whatsoever that prevented female Muslim students from the use of hijab in spite of the fact that Muslim students who put on hijab have always been beaten, embarrassed or/and humiliated in many ways over the years.
“God’s given rights and freedom that are also guaranteed by the law of the land do not require any formality or approval.”
The league, however, pleaded with the state government to warn teachers and school heads to desist from depriving Muslim female students their human rights and accept the approval of the use of hijab in schools.
The statement further read “We request the state government to warn overzealous and religious intolerant individuals among school heads and teachers as well as others who might want to take laws into their own hands by preventing Muslim students who are willing to express their fundamental human right.
“The Muslim Community had noted the previous intolerance and disdain from non Muslim teachers and heads of schools against Muslim students on this matter, which include (but not limited to) molestation, affliction of physical injury and many forms of harassment.
“The hitherto tolerance from Muslims has been taken for granted and the Muslim community will not hesitate to take necessary actions against any individual that could frustrate the desire and the efforts in the exercise of the rights of any Muslim in any form or guise.”
The religious leaders also frowned at the dearth of Islamic Religious Knowledge teachers in public schools in the state.
Citing section 38(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) , the religious leaders said “no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.
“Apart from the fact that Muslims students were deprived of the opportunity to learn Islamic Studies in many Schools in the state, it is more unfortunate, disheartening and in fact illegal (in the spirit and intent of the aforementioned provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) that Muslim students in some government owned schools in Ogun State are being compelled to offer Christian Religious Knowledge as a subject in the schools.
“We use this opportunity to call on the state government and in particular, the Honourable State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology to, as a matter of urgency, correct the anomaly through recruitment and deployment of Islamic Studies teachers to schools across the state to teach the subject.
“We appeal to the state government to follow this up with necessary instructions to the heads of schools to make them understand that Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution identifies no state religion and as such they should all desist from any act(s) that could create religious animosity in the state.
“The League of Imams and Alfas and the entire Ummah in Ogun State appreciate and respect other religions and their adherents and will continue to do so for our peaceful coexistence and stable religious atmosphere in Ogun State especially because there is no compulsion in religion. Together we can sustain the state in its stead as a model among the comity of states in the country.”
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in the state, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu could not be reached as of the time of filing this report to confirm the statement .
Several calls made to his phone lines did not go through and a text message sent to his line had not been responded to as if the time of filing this report .