The Supreme Court has overruled Lagos State on its restriction of the use of head covering (hijab) by female Muslim students of public schools in the State.
In a split decision of five to two on Friday, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court affirmed the July 21, 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which set aside the October 17, 2014 judgment by Justice Grace Onyeabo of the High Court of Lagos State, which upheld the hijab restriction.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who wrote the lead majority judgment, which was read on Friday by Justice Tijani Abubakar, dismissed the appeal filed by Lagos State against the 2016 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, on the grounds that the appeal was without merit.
The issue before the court is narrow. It is on the wearing of hijab to school by muslim children. The appeal is against the decision of the lower court.
“My learned brother, Justice Kekere-Ekun JSC prepared an elaborate leading judgment, spanning close to 80 pages…,”
Justice Abubakar said before proceeding to read the concluding part.
Justice Abubakar quoted Justice Kekere-Ekun as saying: “In conclusion, I hold that the appeal is devoid of merit. It is hereby dismissed in its entirety.
“The judgment of the lower court, delivered on the 21st day of July 2016 is affirmed. The parties shall bear their respective costs in this appeal.”
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who headed the panel, along with Justices Uwani Abba-Aji, Mohammed Garba and Abubakar agreed with the lead judgment.
Justice Emmanuel Agim wrote and read the lead minority decision with which Justice Inyang Okoro agreed, to the effect that the appeal was meritorious