OrderPaperToday – The Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the House of Representatives to refrain from conducting the planned public hearing on the hijab controversy between the Nigerian Law School and Ms. Firdrusa Abdulsalam.
Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order on Wednesday in her ruling on an application filed by a coalition of legal practitioners seeking to stop the public hearing.
The judge ordered that the public hearing be suspended, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Recall that the House of Representatives had resolved to investigate the matter following a motion of urgent public importance moved by Abubakar Dambaram (APC, Kano).
The public hearing in respect of the matter was fixed for February 6, but was later postponed.
In her ruling, Judge Chikere said the plaintiffs, who are legal practitioners, have a right to bring the action since the decision of the House of Representatives would affect them.
The matter was adjourned until April 24 for hearing of the substantive suit.
It will be recalled that Firdaus Amasa, a law graduate, was not called to the Nigerian Bar on December 13, 2017 because she wore a hijab to the Call to Bar ceremony.
The lawyers, under the aegis of Coalition of Lawyers for the Preservation of Legal Practitioners’ Ethics then filed a suit asking the court to stop the House of Representatives from conducting the hearing.
Their counsel, Mr. Sunday Akanni, told the court that the lawyers had even undertaken that they would pay damages to the House of Representatives in case their application was found to be frivolous.
He said they were seeking the interpretation of sections 33 to 45 of the 1999 Constitution as well as that of Section 88.
“We brought the House of Representatives to court because of the public hearing they scheduled to hold February 6.
“Our contention is very simple, the public hearing notice they sent is in respect of a lady who was not called to the bar on December 13, 2017, because she was wearing Hijab.
“They say the public hearing is pursuant to Section 45 of the Constitution, but we are saying it has to do with violation of rights and it is the court that can look into such matters.
“It is not for the House of Representatives to conduct a public hearing. Sections 88 and 89 give power to the House of Representatives to conduct public hearing, but sections 33 to 45 is what we call fundamental rights,” she said