Hijab: Again, Muslim parents, students drag UI, school, principal to court over rights violation

Some Muslim parents, whose daughters were banned by the authorities of the University of Ibadan International School Ibadan (UI ISI) from using Hijab (head scarf), have returned to court to enforce what they termed as fundamental human rights of their wards in line with their religion belief.

The Hijab controversy became a public issue last November when the parents under the banner of UI-ISI Muslim Parents’ Forum petitioned the University of Ibadan, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) who doubled as Chairman of the board of Governors of the school, the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe and school over the denial of the female Muslim students in the school to wear Hijab.

The crisis generated a lot of arguments for and against from parents, students, academic and other stakeholders as the development led to the shutting of the school for a week.

The Muslim parents on behalf of their wards later approached an Oyo state High Court in Ibadan, asking the Court to mandate the school to allow their wards use Hijab on top of their school uniforms.

Those that were joined in the suit which was filed together by the parents included the school principal, Phepan Olowe, University of Ibadan, its Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) who also doubled as Chairman of the board of Governors of the school.

However, Justice Ladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court 9, on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, struck out the fundamental human rights suit filed by the parents on behalf of their wards. Akintola in his ruling, premised his judgement on the fact that the section of the constitution on human rights issues should be filed individually and not collectively as done by the parents.

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It was however gathered that the school principal, Mrs. Olowe and some staff of the school including the school Accountant, Mr. Odewale had since then been allegedly molesting, harassing and intimating the Muslim students.

The development had made the Muslim parents to petitioned the Department of State Service (DSS) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

But the Muslim parents, while speaking on Sunday, said that they had complied with the court directive to file the cases individually.

Chairman, Muslim Parents’ Forum of the School, Alhaji Abdurahman Balogun, while speaking with DAILY POST, maintained that the applicants have now complied with the court directive to file the matter individually.

Balogun said that, “We are back in Court. This is to inform you all that sequel to Court directive to file the matter individually as regards Fundamental Human Rights, we had since complied and new cases assigned as follows:

(1) Fareedah Moshood vs UI is on Monday 19 Aug 2019 at High Court main premises Ring Road before a vacation judge, (2) Hamdallah Olosunde vs UI is coming on 20-8-19 before court 17 Iyaganku, (3) Iman Akinoso vs UI is coming on 20-8-19 before court 17 Iyaganku, (4) Raheemah Akinlusi vs UI is coming on 21-8-19 before court 17 Iyaganku, (5) Ikhlas Badru vs UI is coming on 21-8-19 before court 17 Iyaganku, (6) Mahmudah Babarinde vs UI is on 27 Aug 2019 at high court main premises ring road before a vacation judge, (7) Aakifah Dokpesi vs UI is on 27 Aug 2019 at High Court main premises Ring Road before a vacation judge, (8) Aaliyah Dokpesi vs UI is on 27 Aug 2019 at High Court main premises Ring Road before a vacation judge.

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Balogun maintained that the decision of the students to return to court is simply to “liberate our children and Muslims who religiously oppressed intimidated and coerced not to express their faith freedom as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“You are equally invited to join us in this struggle as you did in the past so as to liberate our children and Muslims, especially in South West, from the shackles of oppression, intimidation and coercion in the free practice of our faith- Islam, as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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