AN Osun State High Court judge, Justice Jide Falola, on Friday warned parties involved in a litigation over the wearing of hijab in public schools to desist from encouraging students to defy court order or judgment.
Falola had on the 3 June, 2016 delivered a judgment, allowing female Muslim students in public schools to wear hijab to school, citing their fundamental human rights and religious belief as reasons that informed his judgment.
Hearing the motion for a stay of execution of the judgment filed by counsel for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Osun State chapter, Barrister Olufemi Folarin Ayandokun, the presiding judge stated that “you should admonish your clients not to use religion to divide or destabilise the judiciary. To go to the extent of shopping for a type of judge our case should go before is ridiculous”.
According to Falola, “judiciary is a sanctuary that deals with the law. Whoever handles any case would not allow his religion to interfere in the process. Some students were encouraged to defy court judgment. The only means you have against any judgment is to appeal. Not to encourage students to defy court judgment”.
He continued, “pictures of these students are on social and regular media. The students may not be aware of the implication of what they were being made to do. These are students we expect to become lawyers, doctors and judges in the future.”
Falola, who also admonished the media to be professional in their reportage of proceedings on hijab suit said “the intention of some tiny section of the media is to intimidate and subdue the judiciary. I am employed as a judge and sit in a court of law. May that day never come when a judge will have to consult a tiny god before adjudicating on a matter.”
“Reading through the press in the past few days, one would think the Armageddon has come. The media should not use their reports to provoke crisis. They have constitutional roles to play. The court works on facts and laws placed before it. My conscience is clear and my hands are not tied. I applied the law,” he added.
The state chapter of CAN had on June 22 filed an application before the Osun State High Court asking for a stay of execution of the judgment pending its determination by the Appeal Court.