THE Coalition of Islamic Organisations on Justice for Firdaus Amasa Abdulsalam and Hijab-related Matters has condemned the ruling of a federal high court sitting in Abuja which refused the application of a non-governmental organisation, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, to join a suit instituted by eight Christians to stop a public hearing of the House of Representatives on the reason why a law student, Miss Firdaus Amasa Abdulsalam, was not called to bar.
The coalition, which is an amalgamation of 36 Islamic groups in Nigeria, described the ruling as perverse and a travesty of justice.
The coalition, in a statement signed by its chairman, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said the grounds on which the court refused the advocacy group’s application for joinder were “untenable and unsupportable in law.”
It recalled that the suit seeking to stop the House of Representatives from holding a public hearing on the Body of Benchers/Firdaus Amasa Abdulsalam matter was filed in January 2018 “in a clandestine manner.”
According to the statement, following the application of the plaintiffs, the court gave an order of injunction restraining the House of Representatives from holding the public hearing a few hours to the well-publicised public hearing.
“This, thus successfully halted the public hearing. This was a missed opportunity for the sensitive matter to be addressed by the Nigerian parliament.
“Against this background, the incorporated trustees of Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, a registered non-governmental organisation affected by the order of injunction dished out by the court, subsequently approached the court, applying to join the suit as an interested party.
“In compliance with the rules of the court, the organisation filed all the processes expected of it. It is, however, unfortunate that from the day one when the application was sought to be moved, the outcome of what the ruling of the court would be on the application for joinder was already signalled.
“The most absurd aspect of the ruling was where the court relied on Section 46 of the Constitution and narrowly interpreted it to suit its agenda by holding, among others, that the section refers only to ‘any person’ and not an organisation. The Coalition wonders whether the court suddenly forgot the concept of ‘legal personality’.
“We dare say that the grounds relied on by the court in refusing the Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative’s application for joinder are untenable and unsupportable in law,” the coalition said in the statement.
It submitted that the process leading to the suit and the ruling of the court smacked of Islamaphobia, hatred, prejudice and bias.
The coalition, however, appealed to Muslim stakeholders and other lovers of peace and peaceful co-existence to remain calm and law abiding “as we take the necessary steps to appropriately challenge the unjust ruling.”