The Lagos State Government Tuesday said it would not allow the use of Hijab in all its public schools until the Supreme Court “determines an appeal seeking to upturn the decision of a Court of Appeal.”
The state government equally clarified that religious institutions were exempted from paying taxes according to the state laws, though any religious institution engaging in commercial activities was liable to pay taxes accordingly.
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdulateef Abdulhakeem, speaking on a television programme, said the state government would not enforce the appellate court’s decision on the use of Hijab.
A Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos had on July 2016 unanimously set aside the judgment of a Lagos High Court which banned students in public schools in the state from putting on the Hijab with their school uniforms.
The court presided over by Justice A.B. Gumel held that the appeal was meritorious and should be allowed. Gumel held that the use of the Hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship, hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing it in public schools.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the appellate court, the state government approached the apex court, challenging the court decision, which reinstated the use of Hijab in the state’s public schools on July 21, 2016.
Confronted with a question on the refusal of the state government to enforce the court decision on the use of Hijab, Abdulhakeem noted that the state government “firmly believes in the rule of law and will continue to uphold it.”
He said the state government did not enforce the judgment of the appellate court, which reinstated the use of Hijab in the public schools on July 21, 2016.
According to the commissioner, the state government is awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on this matter. We cannot enforce the decision of the lower court until the Supreme Court determines the appeal before it.