An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Thursday awarded a total cost of N240,000 against University of Ibadan International School Ibadan (ISI) for causing delay in hearing of a suit file by female Muslim students of the school over use of hijab.
It would be recalled that 11 female Muslim students of the school and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) had instituted the suit over alleged refusal of the school to allow them wear hijab on their school uniform.
The applicants in the suit are Faridah Akerele, Aaliyah Dokpesi, Akhifah Dokpesi, Raheemah Akinlusi, Iman Akinoso, Hamdallah Olosunde, Aliyyah Adebayo, Moriddiyah Yekinni, Ikhlas Badiru, Mahmuda Babarinde, Fareedah Moshood and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
Other respondents in the suit are the School Principal, Mrs Phebean Olowe; the Chairman, Board of Governors, Prof. Abideen Aderinto; and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Dr Olalekan Jeremiah; Prof. Akintunde Olatunji, Lukman Ajibade, Mrs Oluwole Olubunmi, Tunde Aro, Fatumise Abey.
It would be recalled that the Justice Moshood Ishola had on March 27 adjourned the case till April 6 for hearing of the suit.
At the Thursday proceedings, Counsel for 1st to 5th respondents, Dr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) filed an application to substitute the name of the former Principal of the school, Mrs Phebean Olowe with the new principal’s name, Mr Yinka Akintunde.
Ajibade informed the court that Olowe had retired from the school and would be proper to remove her name from the suit and substitute it with the name of the new principal.
He said that he does not want to delay the hearing of the suit and wanted it to be heard on merit.
In his response, Counsel to 1st to 11th applicants, Mr Hassan Fajimite, informed the court that he was not opposed to the application for substitution of the name.
Fajimite, however, told the court that the counsel to the 1st to 5th respondents was aware of the retirement of Olowe since October 2022 and bringing the application for substitution now was to delay hearing of the suit.
He said the respondents counsel ought not to have waited until now before filling the application for substitution knowing that the case has been slated for hearing.
Counsel for the 12th applicants (MURIC), Mr Yusuf Anikulapo, aligned with the submission of Fajimite, adding that the respondents had caused unnecessary delay in hearing of the matter.
Anikulapo said that he was just served with the application for substitution in court now and the application has stalled the hearing of the case as slated.
He urged the court to award a cost of N100,0000 against the 1st to 5th respondents.
Justice Moshood Ishola granted the application for substitution of the name of Olowe with Akintunde in the interest of fair hearing.
Ishola said that he has considered the argument of all the counsel in the matter and a cost of N20,000 is awarded against the 1st to 5th respondents in favour of each of the 12 applicants in the matter.
The judge adjourned the matter till May 4 for hearing of the substantive application.