There are 3 ways to resolve a conflict:
1. War
2. Dialogue
3. Instrument of the law

War is not always bad. Sometimes, it’s a viable tool for reformation & establishment of order. Unfortunately, war doesn’t determine who’s right between the conflicting parties but who’s left. So that leaves us with two options: dialogue and instrument of the law.

Dialogue can be employed to resolve a conflict where the two parties have established equal rights and are honest. There will be concessions, tolerance and compromises on both sides to arrive at a fair and equitable conclusion, satisfactory to both parties without prejudice. The emphasis here is that, dialogue is it required where it’s established that both parties have equal rights. In a situation where one party is the right and the other is merely trying to harass, oppress and usurp what does not belong to it, dialogue is a waste of time.

The third option is to use the instrument of the law. Sadly, just like war, the court may not necessarily determine who’s right, but who’s smarter. It’s not in all cases that justice is served in the temple of justice. And in a corrupt judicial system, money and might determine right. This is why weak and uninfluencial people prefer dialogue as a tool of conflict resolution to going to court.

However, the case of Hijāb in Kwara state is a settled one by the court and any call for dialogue is a needless and futile one, unless government is ignorant of the facts or playing a dangerous game of hypocrisy. There’s no need to go to war with anyone either. The facts are there. In 2006, in the case of Bashirah Salihu & 2 others vs the provost of the Kwara State College of Education, the Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin ruled that in pursuant of section 38(1), the use of Hijāb anywhere including educational institutions is a fundamental right of a Muslim lady. Furthermore, the argument by the defense counsel that the students signed a matriculation oath to abide by all school regulations is immaterial as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supreme.

For reference purpose, the case file is CA/IL/49/2006. Thus, it was settled that the students cannot be denied their right to wear their Hijāb. Note that in this case, Bashirah Salihu and others were not talking about just the Hijāb but the face veil (Niqāb). So, unless government is jobless or unserious, the Appeal court ruling subsists and must be respected by all parties. Any other committee deliberation or report is unnecessary and inconsequential. Unfortunately, some of the supposed Muslim intellectuals that should have referred to the ruling were busy telling tales by the moonlight and singing self-glorifying lyrics!

It’s sad and unfortunate that 15 years after that celebrated judgement, we are still talking about dialogue in Kwara state and Ilorin in particular.

Sanusi Lafiagi


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