A human rights activist and lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo, who stirred controversy last Thursday at the Supreme Courtafter he appeared in court in a lawyer’s gown with a ‘native doctor’ attire, on Wednesday reverted to a normal lawyer’s dress code.
The PUNCH reported that on Monday, he also appeared in the ‘native doctor’ attire before Justice Tijani Ringim, who declined to hear his case before the court.
Omirhobo appeared at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday morning in full wig, gown, black trousers and shoes.
He said “the spirit” asked him to “go normal,” adding that he would revert to his religious garb again if directed.
Responding to journalists’ enquiries, Omirhobo said, “I’m led by the spirit to go normal today. Don’t be surprised if you see me the other way tomorrow. So, today is normal.”
When asked whether “the spirit” was in conformity with the ethics of the legal profession and dress code, the lawyer said, “What ethics are you talking about? Are you insulting my religion? Don’t try it, don’t insult my religion. The constitution, according to the Supreme Court, says I should dress according to my religious attire and you are insulting the Supreme Court, behave yourself.”
Omirhobo claimed he is a traditionalist and argued that his decision was based on the Supreme Court’s judgment that ruled in favour of Muslim students wearing hijab in Lagos schools.
Omirhobo’s move, however appeared, to have emboldened other lawyers.
On Tuesday, another lawyer, Dennis Ezekiel, appeared at the Federal High Court in Lagos, wearing a rosary on his barrister’s attire.
He explained that he was exercising his right to religious freedom following the hijab ruling.
Ezekiel said, “My name is Dennis Ezekiel. I’m a Christian, a Catholic and I’m professing my religion by appearing like this in court. It is my right, enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution and laid down, enunciated by the Supreme Court (in its) judgment (on hijab). So, we have that constitutional right to profess our religion without hindrance.”