Muslim parents on Monday sued Nigeria’s premier university of Ibadan after a school owned by the varsity barred 11 Muslim girls from wearing their religious head covering in their classrooms.
The case was filed following weeks of controversy on the Muslim girls’ head covering in the International School Ibadan (ISI) in the southwest Oyo state, resulting in temporary closure of the school and counter protests.
Instituted by the ISI Muslim Parents Forum, the Muslims are asking the court to declare the action of the school “a violation of the (students’) rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom from discrimination… and right to education as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria.”
The court will hear the case on Dec. 21.
The latest hijab controversy comes weeks after Nigeria’s Lagos government officially endorsed its use across schools.
The Lagos decision came two years after appeals court struck down an official memo restricting the use of the head covering, declaring it unconstitutional and violation of rights to religious freedom.
Headscarves have increasingly become a symbol of Muslims’ rejection of the British colonial legacies in Nigerian public life.
In 2017, a Muslim female law graduate was barred from a call to bar event in the capital Abuja for wearing a headscarf that drew anger from the Muslim community.
Barrister Firdaus Amasa was later called to the bar with her headscarf after the country’s council on legal education backed down.