Judge exonerates self over court’s decision on Osun hijab crisis ,cautions parties


Justice Oyejide Falola of an Osun State High court sitting in Osogbo on Friday defended his judgement permitting female Muslim students in public schools in the state to wear hijab to the classroom.
Justice Falola said he only applied the law the way he should.
The judge, while entertaining an application for a stay of execution filed by the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state on his June 3judgement, chided those condemning the verdict.
He also frowned on the controversy it has generated.
Falola, however, warned CAN and the Muslim community in the state, through their counsels in court, against destabilizing and dividing the judiciary by their actions and comments.
The judge who said that it was ridiculous for some students to have worn religious garments to school in protest against his judgement, also expressed displeasure at the media for reporting development.
According to Falola, his conscience was clear and his hands were not tied on the judgement he delivered on the hijab issue, asking counsels to admonish their clients against making inflamatory statements on the matter.
He said, “I am employed as a judge and I am bound to abide by the law. Judiciary is a sanctuary that deals with the law and whoever handles any case would not allow his/her religion to interfere.
“Shopping for a particular kind of judge to handle this case is deplorable and should be condemned.
“Journalists are to assist the society to tame news and not to provoke or ridicule the society and they have their constitutional role to play,” Falola said.
Counsel to CAN, Olufemi Ayandokun, said an appeal had been filed since June 2, 2016 on the judgement. “We filed an appeal on the 2nd of June,2016 and served and subsequently the respondents filed counter application on the 4th of June,2016,” he said.
Counsel to the Muslim Community, Kazeem Odedeji, confirmed that the stay of execution has been responded to. Falola then adjourned till 19th July, 2016 for hearing of the application on the stay of execution.
Meanwhile, tension was heightened inside the court due to the presence of heavy security provided by armed policemen who surrounded the premises throughout the sitting on the matter.
Heavily armed and fierce-looking security operatives were also observed manning the court’s main gate, while about ten patrol vehicles were strategically parked outside the premises.