By Rafiu Ajakaye
A Nigerian high court judge has called on the Muslim community and a secondary school to settle the controversy over the hijab (head covering) out of court in the “interest of national peace and cohesion.”
The judge, Laniran Akintola, told counsel to the parties that both sides should consider withdrawing the case to avoid “further dividing the country” along religious lines.
Last year, nearly a dozen Muslim girls were barred from wearing their religious head covering in the International School Ibadan (ISI) in southwest Ibadan that led to protests and the court case initiated by some parents of the schoolgirls.
“It will be appropriate if you resolve this matter amicably[…],” Akintola said.
The hearing has been adjourned until Feb. 20.
In 2016, Nigeria’s appeals court ruled that the Muslim head covering qualifies as a fundamental human rights that is protected by the constitution and struck down a ban on it by the southwest Lagos state in its public schools.