MSSN warns against child abuse as Lagos schools resume

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit has warned teachers and education administrators against child abuse as schools resume in the state.

President (Amir) of the MSSN Lagos, Saheed Ashafa, gave the warning in a press statement to welcome the pupils and education officials to the 2019/2020 academic session. recalls that the Lagos State Government had ordered both private and public schools to resume on Monday 9th September as part of measures to implement uniformity in the school calendar.

According to Ashafa, pupils deserve mentorship and right counselling not abuse from their teachers.

He explained that apart from abusing the pupils sexually, teachers must not also flout the court judgement on hijab usage in public schools in Lagos State.

Ashafa recalled that a five-man special appellate court panel, presided by Justice A.B. Gumel, on 21st July, 2016 overruled the 17th October, 2014 judgment of Justice Modupe Onyeabo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, which banned the use of hijab in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos State.

While striking out Justice’s Onyeabo’s verdict, the Justice Gumel-led panel said the use of hijab by Muslim pupils could not cause disunity, distraction and discrimination against students of other faiths as declared by the lower court judge.

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Ashafa said, “We welcome pupils back to school and urge them to pursue academic excellence. They must be energised to study hard and shun distractions. They must be cautious and respect their teachers. Beyond academic works, they must strive to be morally upright.

“We also urge teachers to make school environment safe for the pupils. They must be their protectors not abuser. The alarming rate of child abuse in schools is scary and disturbing.

“Parents should be confident to send their wards to school and not be full of fear or abuse or molestation.

“Teachers must avoid doing in private what they cannot do with the pupils in public. They must instil confidence in our education sector and make school environment a sane environment.

“Beyond sexual abuse, physical and psychological abuses must stop. We appeal to teachers to assist the Lagos State Government to make peace reign in our schools and shun religious sentiments.

“No pupil should be harassed, punished or molested for wearing hijab (Islamic headscarf). As earlier upheld by Justice Gumel-led Court of Appeal panel, wearing of hijab is an Islamic injunction and an act of worship required of Muslims.

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“It doesn’t disturb learning or impede academic excellence. Rather, it accelerates learning, instils modesty and sanity in our schools and society.”

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