Hijab crisis: Court grants UI International School extension of time

Sigma Club, a students’ club in the University of Ibadan(UI), has awarded a million naira scholarship to ten brilliant and indigent students of the university. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the announcement was made during the club’s scholarship and awards ceremony held at the UI Alumni Centre on Sunday. NAN reports that the club, founded in 1950 is one of the oldest surviving students’ organisation in West Africa The club had in addition to the scholarship, conferred honorary membership as “Sigma Scholar” on the beneficiaries. Mr Valentine Igbonekwu, the Sigma Chief, said that the one million naira would be shared among the 10 beneficiaries at N100,000 per annum until the end of the end of their programme. He said that the scholarship, which covered the beneficiaries’ tuition and accommodation, would be paid to the school directly by the club. Igbonekwu noted that the balance of the amount paid would be given to each beneficiary at the beginning of every session. According to her, the scholarship scheme is an initiative of the socio-philanthropic club aimed at helping to solve the existential problems affecting the educational sector by rewarding and awarding diligent but indigent students. “Its objective is to provide full and relief scholarships to enable them complete their education and actualise their academic goals. “The scholarship scheme was established in 1986 and since then about 87 students have benefitted. Through the receipt of the Sigma Scholarship, beneficiaries become Sigma Scholars. “This noble gesture is in continuation of the club’s noble tradition of philanthropy, which is aimed at improving the lives of people in our immediate environment as well as cause a rapid upliftment of humanity. “Our motive lies in breeding Sigma Scholars who shall make positive impacts and monumental contributions to the development of our society and the world at large,’’ he said. Prof. Gabriel Ogunmola, the Chairman of the event and Chancellor, Lead City University in Ibadan, commended the club for standing out at a time many are thinking the average youth cannot contribute meaningfully to the society. “I am happy that the club has not derailed from the philanthropic cause I had always known it for. “I call on the beneficiaries to remain morally upright, outstanding in their academics and be agents of change, seizing every opportunity to give back to the society,’’ he said. Dr Okon Onyong, the Chairman, Sigma Scholarship Scheme Board of Trustees, congratulated the beneficiaries and promised more commitment to the scheme. Onyong, the Chief Executive Officer, Jevkon Oil and Gas, recounted the unforgettable memories of his being a loyal Sigmite as an undergraduate. Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the UI Vice-Chancellor, commended the prestigious club for taking a bold step towards alleviating the financial conditions of future leaders. Olayinka, who was represented by Dr Demola Lewis, the Deputy Dean of Students, expressed great optimism at the sustained and continued success of the scheme. He also appreciated the blossoming rapport the club had with the school management over the decades. Kikiowo Kingsley, one of the beneficiaries, promised that they would continue to lead the crusade for the change the society needed, while sustaining the tradition of academic excellence. Kingsley, a first-class student of the Faculty of Law, expressed profound gratitude to the club for finding them worthy of the lifetime opportunity. NAN reports that the ten beneficiaries emerged from a list of 38 shortlisted out of the 77 applicants from various departments in the institution after a screening examination was conducted. The event was also attended by the representative of the Old Sigmites’ Association, Dr Femi Oyamakin and members of the all-male undergraduate club.
United Bank for Africa

An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Friday granted an application for extension of time filed by the University of Ibadan (UI) International School Ibadan (ISI) in a suit filed against it over ban on wearing of Hijab by female Muslim students.

Our correspondent reports that the suit was instituted by some Muslim parents on behalf of their daughters after an initial protest that led to the brief shutdown of the school.

Other respondents in the suit are the School Principal, Mrs Phebean Olowe, the Chairman, Board of Governors, Prof. Abideen Aderinto and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the university.

It was reported that the Muslim parents that sued the school on behalf of their children are Taofeek Yekinni, Idris Badiru, Sikiru Babarinde, Muideen Akerele, Abdurrahman Balogun and nine others.

At the resume hearing of the suit on Friday, Counsel to the respondents, Dr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) informed the court that he was out of time in responding to the originating summon of the applicants.

Ajibade said he has filed an application for extension of time and urged the court to grant his application.

The counsel to the applicants, Mr Hassan Fajimite, said he was not opposed to the application for extension of time filed by the respondents’ counsel.

Justice Laniran Akintola granted the application and adjourned the matter till Jan. 11, 2019, for mention.

It was reported that three parties seeking to be joined as co-respondents in the matter where present in the court, but yet to file any processes.

In the originating summon, the applicants are contending that the action of the school authority violates their rights to freedom of thought, religion and education as contained in Section 38 (1)(a) and 42(1)(a) of Nigeria’s Constitution.

Their counsel had urged the court to declare the school’s continuous prevention of female Muslim students from wearing Hijab as wrongful and unconstitutional.