THE growing controversy over moves to allow female students in public schools in Osun State to wear veil (hijab) took a legal dimension, on Thursday, as Muslim community in the state instituted a suit against the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola over the matter.
In an to secure legal backing for the hijab, the Muslim community was seeking an order to allow all Muslim female students in public primary and secondary schools to wear hijab to schools.
The community, under the aiges of Incorporated Trustees of Osun State Muslim Community and Students Society of Nigeria, had approached the court, seeking the order to allow all female students wear hijab, in accordance with the Islamic rights and injunctions.
Joined in the suit filed as defendants were the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Afolabi and the Commissioner for Education, who is also the state deputy governor, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori.
Also joined were the state All Nigerian Confederation of Principal of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and others.
Representatives of the applicant, Sheik Salaudeen Olayiwola and Alhaji Sadiq Bola Bello, in the filed motion, said they were claiming their fundamental human rights as Muslims, under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
When the case came up for mentioning on Thursday, counsel for the applicant, Mr Kazeem Odedeji, intimated the court that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Osun State had also filed an application to be joined as co-defendant in the case.
He, however, pleaded with the court not to grant CAN’s prayers, insisting that the use of hijab was in accordance to the tenets of Islam.
However, counsel for CAN, Mr Femi Ayandokun, objected to the application of Muslims community, contending that the court should give both applicants and respondents fresh date to harmonise the motions before it.
The state Attorney-General and Commisisoner for Justice, Afolabi, the lead counsel for the respondents, said he had no objection to the applicant’s position seeking for more time for harmonisation of motions before the court.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Oyejide Falola, ordered the two parties to maintain law and order, cautioning that none of them should promote religious disharmony in the state.