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The Unspoken Words of Chief Michael Omirhobo’s Drama At The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court during the Week witnessed a mild drama as Human Right activist Chief Michael Omirhobo adorned himself with a native doctor’s attire while attending proceedings at the Court.

Chief Omirhobo, entered the courtroom barefooted, with his lawyer’s wig on his head, a black gown and a white shirt on his upper body, and a red wrapper tied on his waist in place of a black trouser and he had a mini-calabash-amulet dangling on his neck with amulets on his wrist and ankle.

The Security Personnels at the Supreme Courts premises didn’t attempt to arrest him in-spite of his outlandish outlook. He sat comfortably in a row of chairs reserved for legal practitioners through out the duration of proceedings at the apex court on Thursday 23rd June 2022.
His out look and sitting position made him so conspicuous to the panel of justices of the Supreme Court who didn’t hesitate to dispel the case before them quickly before retiring to their chambers.

Chief Michael Omirhobo spoke to the Pressmen after exiting the courtroom.
He explained that he decided to attend the proceeding in the native doctor’s attire because of the recent judgement of the apex court that permitted the use of head covering veil (Hijab) by female Muslim students in public primary and secondary schools in Lagos.

According to him the apex court had by the said judgement, enforced his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
He opined that the judgement empowered him to dress in his “religious outfit” as his mode of worship stipulated, just as the Hijab.

“Even my children will dress like this to the school and I will encourage my fellow traditionalists, those who are serving Olokun, Shongo or Okponor, the god of thunder and the god of iron.
“I encourage them to dress like this because it is always good to be religious. We need to be close to the spirit” he said.

“You can see that I am not wearing shoes. Ifa has told me that if I wear shoes I’ll be dead. So I had no option, I had to obey the spirit”.

“You see this eye (referring to the calabash amulet on his chest), without it I can’t see the evil spirit coming to attack me. So with this I can see them”.

“So, you see, I have been given licence by the judgement of the Supreme Court on Friday (June 17), to dress in our religious outfit because it is the mode of our worship”. He continued.

Responding to question on the possibility of his being arrested, the activist said;
“Nobody can do it, nobody! Even the President cannot arrest me. Over my own fundamental right? Nobody can, it’s my fundamental right”.

Will you always appear on this religious outfit to court he was asked. He answered;
 “Sure! This is my outfit”.

“I can stand anywhere, it is my outfit. What is alien? There is no law. Section 45 of the Constitution that delegate the rights in chapter Four(4) generally, which includes the right to freedom of religion, is not clear”.

“It says there should be a law that derogate this my right, there is no such law in Nigeria or in the Legal Practitioners Act that tells me how I am going to dress, whether in black and white, there is no law that is stopping me”

“Once there is no law stopping me by virtue of section 45 which says that if there is a law, that such law can override my fundamental right if that law is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

“Anyway, there is even no law in the first place! So, there is nothing stopping me”

What if the Supreme Court reverse itself, what will you do he was asked. The lawyer responded;
 “I am happy with the situation.They should not reverse themselves please”.

When asked about the identity of the particular traditional religion he portrayed at Court, he answered;
“This is Olokun, the god of rivers the god of water. You know I am from Delta State and I am a Chief”.

Recall that a seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court had in a split decision of five to two, last Friday, affirmed an earlier decision of a Court of Appeal in Lagos State that nullified a High Court judgement that banned female students from wearing Hijab with their school uniforms.
The apex court in its lead majority verdict that was prepared by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun but read by Justice Tijani Abubakar, dismissed as lacking in merit, an appeal Lagos State Government lodged against the Court of Appeal decision.

The Supreme Court said it found no reason to reinstate the October 17, 2014, judgement by Justice Grace Onyeabo of the High Court of Lagos State, which upheld the ban on Hijab.

The judgement followed an appeal marked SC/910/2016, which Lagos State, through its Attorney-General, filed against a minor, Miss Ayisat Abdukareem and others.

The Court of Appeal had on July 21, 2016, vacated the High Court judgement that banned the use of Hijab in public schools in Lagos State.

The import of this mild drama as played out by Chief Michael Omirhobo is in the unspoken words of his sarcasm in his address to Pressmen as enumerated above.

The judgement appears to have refused to balance the fact that the public schools operates in a multi religious country where religious attire is not only peculiar to Islam as in this case of Hijab.
The judgement has ultimately empowered others to fly their religious outfit in public places too thereby disregarding decorum and order in our public schools and other public institutions which may borrow a leaf from this judgement.

Except the Supreme Court reverses itself one can only imagine the chaos this judgement may have engineered in the days ahead.
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