The Supreme Court has upheld the freedom of Muslim female students in the state of Lagos to wear the hijab without harassment or discrimination.
Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s highest court issued its judgement by a majority vote.
Justices Olukayode Ariwoola, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, John Inyang Okoro, Uwani Aji, Mohammed Garba, Tijjana Abubakar, and Emmanuel Agim served on the panel.
Five judges decided in favour of the hijab, while two dissented.
In October 2014, a Lagos high court ruled prohibited the usage of hijabs in schools, however this decision was overturned by an appeals court in July 2016.
The appeals court ruled unanimously that the restriction discriminated against Muslim students in Lagos state.
The state administration appealed the appellate court’s decision to the supreme court because it was dissatisfied with the outcome.
In August of 2018, it enacted a ban on the usage of the hijab.
However, the state administration requested in a circular that the status quo be maintained to avoid judicial contempt.
However, it said that the hijab must be “short, tidy, and the same colour as the uniform” (skirt).
“Since the case regarding the use of the hijab in Lagos State is still pending in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the status quo must be maintained in order to avoid contempt of court,” the circular stated. “Students may wear hijabs on school uniforms, but they must be short, neat, and the same colour as the uniform (skirt).”
“Additionally, school administrators are encouraged to minimise remarks and disciplinary measures over the usage of smart hijabs pending the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling of the case.
No student should be subjected to any type of religious discrimination.