June 23, (THEWILL) – A Lagos-based Human Rights Lawyer, Malcom Omoirhobo, caused a stir on Thursday, when he attended a Supreme Court, Abuja, proceeding in a traditional attire.
According to reports, security operatives at the court made an effort to stop the legal practitioner, but was left alone when he gave his reasons for approaching the court in that manner.
Giving his reasons, Malcom said a recent judgement by the Supreme Court, which allowed all Nigerians to express their way of worship and the use of hijab in schools and public places, validated his choice of dress for the proceedings today.
Recall that the Supreme Court had last week approved female Muslim students to wear hijab to school in Lagos State.
The decision was reached following deliberations among seven members of the court’s panel. Five out of the lawyers are said to have given consent to the wearing of a Hijab in schools, while two others dissented. The Supreme Court, in the end, ruled in favour of the hijab.
Malcom, who arrived at the court at about 9:05, attracted attention to himself, as his colleagues who had been seated were taken by surprise to see him robed in traditional attire to look like a herbalist.
It was gathered that the lawyer entered the court barefooted with feathers attached to his wig. Malcom was also spotted wearing a gourd on his necklace with cowries and a red wrapper tied around his waist.
His arrival at the court caused commotion and the proceedings were abruptly stopped. The presiding justice reportedly declared a short break, but it was not clear if the lawyer’s appearance was responsible for the short break.
A large number of people were said to have thronged the courtroom to witness the dramatic event, while others made use of their mobile phones to take his pictures.
“I am very grateful to the Supreme Court. Just last Friday, they made a very resounding decision that promotes Section 38 of the constitution, that is, our right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. That we are free to express our way of worship in our schools and in our courts. That decision was reached on Friday and that has encouraged me.
“Because I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to “Olokun’,’ the god of rivers”, Malcolm was quoted as saying during an interaction with journalists.
According to the lawyer, the Supreme Court’s judgement last week implies that every Nigerian, including doctors, police, military students, and journalists, can now wear their mode of worship in public places.
He added that he was not against the judgement, rather he was happy with the decision because it strengthened and enriched the rights of all Nigerians as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.