The Executive Secretary

National Human Rights Commission

19, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama,

Abuja.

9th July, 2019.

Dear Sir,

International School Ibadan Hijab Situation: Request for Intervention

I write on behalf of the Muslim Parents Forum of the International School, Ibadan to report the unlawful and unconstitutional actions being perpetrated by the School Principal and her cohorts, which violate the rights of Muslim girls in the School.

The association in a letter dated 29th October 2018 informed the school authority of our daughters’ intention to freely express their right to religious freedom and expression by adorning the hijab to school like their counterparts in other State affiliated secondary schools. This right was later freely expressed on the 12th and 13th of November, 2018.

On the 14th of November, the school management decided to harass the girls; forcibly removed them from classes and held them incommunicado in a section of the school library under the watchful eyes of the school security personnel throughout the school period.

The matter later became a legal issue at the Oyo State High Court, Ring Road, Ibadan.

The matter was later struck out on technical ground on 25th June 2019.

While, we are working on the next line of action, our children informed us on 1st July that the school Principal announced on the assembly that she has banned the use of hijab within and outside the school premises.

This flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of the girls to adorn the hijab especially outside the school premises was considered an affront on the collective sensibilities of the muslims who have children in the school. However, we calmed ourselves down thinking the principal was quoted out of context.

It was therefore disturbing that the school principal through a staff of the account department, Mr. Odewale and a security guard, Mr. John Mike took the laws into their hands by harassing our daughters for adorning the hijab outside the school premises, several metres away from the school gate on 3rd July, 2019. Although, the girls were later allowed entry, but only after they have been thoroughly disgraced in front of their peers.

On 4th July, the situation became worse as the girls were thoroughly disgraced outside the school premises under the watchful eyes of the Chief Security Officer of the University of Ibadan, the school Vice Principal, Mr. Akintunde, Mr Odewale of the Accounts Department, hordes of security personnel from both the University and the school and some gun-wielding policemen. The video of the harrassment is currently trending on social media.

The matter was promptly reported to the leadership of the University of Ibadan Muslim Community, who swung into action by contacting the University Administration. This probably informed the decision of the school authority to relax their draconian posture on 5th and 8th July to a more sinister but less observable form of harassment.

This psychological torture began this time around on 4th July 2019 immediately the girls entered the school gate, one of the girls was isolated and targeted for harassment. The concerned girl, who has a medical ailment which warrants her being in cardigan most of the time was compelled to pull off her protective clothing, in spite of her persistent explanation to Mr. Omokunmi, one of the Vice Principals, with an intent to cause her harm and thus enrage her parents.

It is worth noting that the school management is aware of the girl’s medical condition. Despite forcing the girl to expose herself to cold, the girl was made to face a hurriedly composed panel of the Students’ Disciplinary Committee (SDC) for the concocted offense. In addition, she was also arraigned for adorning the hijab outside the school premises and threatened with either suspension or expulsion.

On Saturday, 6th of July, her father, who is an academic staff of the University of Ibadan was also given a dose of the subtle harassment as a plain-clothed security official of the school was surreptitiously snapping his pictures while exiting the gates of the school, after picking his daughter at the end of extra class.

On 8th July, the devastating but subtle harassment continued with Mr. Omokunmi abandoning his Vice Principal duty and standing at the school gate to stalk and continuously cover the movement of the girl in question right from the gate to her class. Similar thing was done to three other girls on Monday July 8 and Tuesday July 9, 2019 respectively.

Based on the above and other forms of harassment, we have contacted our lawyers to handle the matter as law abiding citizens.

As a national human rights institution vested with power to protect rights of all Nigerians as provided for in the 1999 Constitution ( as amended and international and regional Human rights treaties, we call on you sir to intervene in this matter.

We noted your prompt action in defence of some women allegedly arrested on grounds of nudity at a night club in Abuja.

Sir, the actions of the school authority on the use of Hijab are contrary to the provisions of the constitution as interpreted by superior courts as well as the jurisprudence of the international human rights bodies.

We look forward to the Commission to protect the rights of these children to freedom of religion and expression; and right to education.

Yours sincerely,

Signed.
Abdur-Rahman Balogun

Chairman, ISI Muslm Parents Forum.

Mrs Bilkis O. Badiru

Secretary, ISI Muslim

Parents Forum.

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9th July 2019

The Director-General,

Department of State Security (DSS),

Abuja.

Dear Sir,

International School Ibadan Hijab Situation: Preventing a Looming Crisis

This is to inform you of the situation of things at the International School, Ibadan which could degenerate into a breakdown of law and order in the University of Ibadan in particular and Oyo State in general.

This body had earlier in a letter dated 29th October 2018 informed the school authority of our daughters intention to freely express their right to religious expression by adorning the hijab to school like their counterparts in other State affiliated secondary schools. This right was later freely expressed on the 12th and 13th of November, 2018. On the 14th of November, the school management decided to harass the girls, removed them from classes and incarcerated eight of them in the school library under the watchful eyes of the school security personnel throughout the school period.

The matter later became a legal issue at the Oyo State High Court, Ring road, Ibadan. The matter was later struck out on technical ground on 25th June 2019. While, we are working on the next line of action, our children informed us on 1st July that the school Principal announced on the assembly that she has banned the use of hijab within and outside the school premises.

This flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of the girls to adorn the hijab especially outside the school premises was considered an affront on the collective sensibilities of the Muslims who have children in the school. However, we calmed ourselves down thinking the principal was quoted out of context.

It was therefore disturbing that the school principal through a staff of the account department, Mr. Odewale and a security guard, Mr. John Mike took the laws into their hands by harassing our daughters for adorning the hijab outside the school premises, several metres away from the school gate on 3rd July, 2019. Although, the girls were later allowed entry, but only after they have been thoroughly disgraced in front of their peers.

On 4th July, the situation became worse as the girls were thoroughly disgraced outside the school premises under the watchful eyes of the Chief Security Officer of the University of Ibadan, the school Vice Principal, Mr. Akintunde, Mr Odewale of the Accounts Department, hordes of security personnel from both the University and the school and some gun-wielding policemen. The matter was promptly reported to the leadership of the University of Ibadan Muslim Community, who swung into action by contacting the University Administration. This probably informed the decision of the school authority to relax their draconian posture on 5th and 8th July to a more sinister but less observable form of harassment.

This psychological torture began this time around on 4th July 2019 immediately the girls entered the school gate, one of the girls was isolated and targeted for harassment. The concerned girl, who has a medical ailment which warrants her being in cardigan most of the time was compelled to pull off her protective clothing, in spite of her persistent explanation to Mr. Omokunmi, one of the Vice Principals, with an intent to cause her harm and thus enrage her parents. It is worth noting that the school management is aware of the girl’s medical condition. Despite forcing the girl to expose herself to cold, the girl was made to face a hurriedly composed panel of the Students’ Disciplinary Committee (SDC) for the concocted offense. In addition, she was also arraigned for adorning the hijab outside the school premises and threatened with either suspension or expulsion.

On Saturday, 6th of July, her father, who is an academic staff of the University of Ibadan was also given a dose of the subtle harassment as a plain-clothe security official of the school was surreptitiously snapping his pictures while exiting the gates of the school, after picking his daughter at the end of extra class.

On 8th July, the devastating but subtle harassment continued with Mr. Omokunmi abandoning his Vice Principal duty and standing at the school gate to stalk and continuously cover the movement of the girl in question right from the gate to her class as well as other three Muslim girls.

Based on the above and other forms of harassment, we have contacted our lawyers to handle the matter as law abiding citizens. However, since the matter is in the public domain as the video of the undressing our girls are alreading trending in the social media.

We wish to state that we would not be liable for any breakdown of law and order that may result from the actions of overzealous elements who may want to use the opportunity presented by the matter to foment trouble within or outside the school premises.

Yours sincerely,
Signed.

Abdur-Rahman Balogun

Chairman, ISI Muslim Parents Forum

Hajia Bilkis O. Badiru

Secretary, ISI Muslim Parents Forum

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