A Nigerian lawyer, Ogbachalu Goshen, today July 1, appeared before the Okpoko Magistrate Court in the Ogbaru Local Government Area, in Anambra State, dressed like a priest.
A mild drama played out in the court as the magistrate, CB Mbaegbu, refused to hear him on grounds that he was not formally dressed. Goshen, in return, disagreed with the magistrate, citing the recent Supreme Court judgement that gave female students the backing to wear hijab in public schools as a precedent.
He also insisted that it was his right, adding that the objection by the Magistrate was an infringement on his fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Not backing down, the Magistrate rose up, thereby forcing the court to dismiss immediately.
Speaking to journalists, Goshen stood his ground noting that the incident had already become a constitutional matter since the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows the use of hijab in public schools and facilities. The lawyer said the court needs to answer what its position would be if it were a female Muslim lawyer who entered the court in her hijab.
He further noted that he is an ordained pastor and should also be allowed to appear that way in court since the Supreme Court’s decision on the hijab matter is that it is allowed.
When asked if the Supreme Court ruling is in the best interest of the judiciary, he said that for now, it remains a precedent that must be obeyed unless there is a judicial review.