CAIRO - Rejecting growing hijabophobia in Lagos schools, a leading Islamic organization has planned a protest at governor's office, urging him to end victimization against Muslim pupils as an infringement on the constitutional rights of pupils.
What is happening in some public schools in the state is no more acceptable, Zhikirul-lahi Sulaiman, Assistant -General Secretary of Muslim Students Society (MSS), told Leadership newspaper.
It is clearly an infringement of the rights of the students and so a clear violation of the constitution.
Lagos authorities have banned the wearing of hijab at schools. The Muslim outfit is also outlawed in most south-western states.
The MSS protest was planned to condemn repeated victimization of Muslim students donning hijab at school.
Blocking the entrance to the office of the governor, protesters carried placards saying Hijab is our right and Stop this Hijabophobia.
They were referring to latest incidents in which Muslim students were punished for donning hijab.
"Imagine a JSS one student of Kadara Junior school, Ebutte Metta was recently given 43 strokes of the cane by one of her teachers just because she wore Hijab to school, Sulaiman said.
"Barira Tajudeen, another student of Mafoluku Senior Grammar School, Oshodi was on Feb.20 suspended by her school authorities for covering her head with Hijab, he added.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
The Muslim outfit has been in the eye of storm since France banned it at public schools in 2004.
Since then, several countries have followed suit.
The hijab ban won flaks from Nigerian Muslims, urging the government to end arbitrary harassment of our pupils in Hijab.
"This is one harassment, too many, Sulaiman said.
The constitution of the country recognises the right of everyone to practice any religion of his choice. This ugly trend must stop", he said.
Hijab ban has already been stirring controversies in Nigeria for months.
Last April, a group of Muslim lawyers said they were to sue the state government of Nigeria's largest state of Lagos to reverse a ban on the wearing of hijab at schools.
The move followed the failure of talks with the government to convince Lagos authorities to reverse its ban on the Muslim headscarf in schools.
Muslims make up 55 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population, while Christians account for 40 percent.
Ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years between the two religious communities, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.