A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Malcom Omoirhobo, on Thursday created a scene at the Supreme Court, Abuja, as he appeared in the court room traditional worshipper’s attire.
His appearance was a surprise to many in the court room, including his colleagues and the judges.
Omoirhobo’s appearing in traditional worshipper’s attire before the court was linked to the last Friday Supreme Court judgement, giving an approval to female Muslim students to wear hijab (Islamic head cover) to schools in Lagos State.
In the judgement, five out of the seven members of the court’s panel that sat on the case ruled in favour of hijab while the two remaining members dissented.
The lawyer, who reportedly arrived at the court around 9:05 am, was barefooted, tied a red wrapper around his waist, adorned his wig with feathers and wore a necklace attached with gourd and cowries.
Looking like an herbalist, he reportedly cautioned the security officer that attempted to prevent him from entering the court, saying he has the right to come to the court in his traditional regalia without any harassment in line with the last Friday Supreme Court judgment.
He entered and joined his colleagues, who were already seated and waiting for the judges to come out of out of recess.
The court proceedings were abruptly halted when the presiding justice suddenly announced that they would be going for a short break.
Though it could not be immediately ascertained what was responsible for the short break.
The situation was said to have attracted a large crowd to the courtroom to witness the scene.
It was learnt that many people were busy using their mobile phones to take pictures of the lawyer.
Some of those, who witnessed the scene said the air of the court room was heavy, saying “because of this man, the Justices of Supreme Court were apparently forced to go into another recess to reconstitute, when they suddenly saw him in the unsual attire.”
A witness, who declined to be identified, said: “When this man entered, the Supreme Court Justices had already gone on recess. He was smart to have entered before the justices returned from recess and met him in the open court. They were shocked but pretended and never contended.
“The justices managed to hear one case and struck it out for an invalid notice of appeal. Then, they embarked on another compulsory recess because of Chief Malcolm. He had disrupted the Supreme Court’s sitting of today (Thursday 23/6/2022) without saying a word or taking action.
“Just a message he passed made everyone to be restless. And the judges uttered no word. They just go up and left. The world covered the events, including lawyers in the court room.”
Speaking with reporters after the court proceedings, the lawyer said he dressed to court in that manner to exercise his fundamental human rights following the judgment of the Supreme Court that allowed all Nigerians to express their ways of worship and the use of hijab in schools and public places.
He said: “I am very grateful to the Supreme Court, just last week 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 of “Olokun,” the god of rivers.
“The implication of the judgement was that every Nigerian, including doctors, police, military students, and journalists, can now wear their mode of worship in public places.
“So, I am not against the judgement rather I am 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.”