The Council of Higher Institutions (COHI), an arm of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit, has advised the Lagos State Government not to renege on the agreement it reached with the society following last Thursday’s mass protest in Alausa against the victimisation of Muslim students using hijab in secondary schools by their principals.
The group warned that reneging on the agreements may result to the disruption of the relative peace being enjoyed in the state at the moment. The Assistant General Secretary of the MSSN Lagos State Area Unit, Mr Sulaimon Dhikrillah, who addressed the press today at the society’s secretariat in Yaba on the hijab crisis, said the group was not out to fight the state government but to demand the recognition and protection of the rights of Muslims as guaranteed by the country’s constitution.
He said the state government had agreed to issue a circular to stop the school authorities and teachers from molesting Muslim girls over the use of hijab. He added that the government representatives at the meeting on Thursday presented evidences that investigation had commenced in the case of Principal of Kadara Junior Grammar School, Ebute-Metta, who allegedly administer 43 strokes of cane on a JSS 1 student over hijab, and pledged to follow it to a logical conclusion.
Dhikrillah, however, accused state government of alleged sponsoring of those he described as ‘unknown elements’ who he said had been going on air to ‘possibly create confusion in the minds of the public regarding what we are fighting for.’ ‘The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit is known for peace and we have always been peaceful in the manner we carry out our activities. ‘We are only demanding that our constitutionally guaranteed right should not be denied us. We will not resort to lawlessness but at the same time we will not relent until justice is done,’ he said.
Speaking on the case of Mrs Elizabeth Omidele, Principal, Mafoluku Senior Grammar School, Oshodi who allegedly removed hijab on an SSS 3 student, Bareerah Tajudeen, outside the school premises and also suspended her, Dhikrillah revealed that the principal had recalled Bareerah under a stringent condition. ‘The principal has coerced Bareera to signing an undertaken antithetical to this resolution more so she was made to serve punishment on the assembly for the same reason. It is our further request that the government should call the principal of Mafoluku to order in the spirit of justice,’ he said.
Concerning the demand that hijab should be part of uniform for Muslim students in Lagos State, Dhikrillah said the government representatives promised to table it before the State Executive Council meeting on March 3rd (Monday).
It would be recalled that members of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Area Unit had on Thursday February 28, 2013, stormed the state governor office in Alausa in protest against victimisation of Muslim girls using hijab in state secondary schools by their principals. The protest lasted over eight hours before an agreement was reached.