Malcom Omoirhobo, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, created a dramatic scene at the Supreme Court Thursday when he appeared in the full traditional attire of an “Olokun priest” to attend court proceedings, the Sun reports.
Omoirhobo said his mode of dressing was in exercise of his fundamental human rights, following the judgment of the Supreme Court that allowed Nigerians to express their ways of worship and the use of hijab in schools and public places.
The Supreme Court had, last Friday, given approval to female Muslim students to wear hijab to school in Lagos State.
Five out of the seven members of the court’s panel which sat on the case ruled in favour of hijab, while the two members dissented.
The lawyer, who arrived at the court at about 9:05am, created a scene in the courtroom when other lawyers, who had been seated, were taken by surprise to see him robed in traditional attire, like a herbalist.
The lawyer, who gained entry into the court, was barefooted with feathers attached to his wig. He was also wearing a gourd on his necklace with cowries and a red wrapper tied around his waist.
He dared the police officers and security guards who asked him to go out, saying that he has the right to come to the court in his traditional regalia without any harassment, in line with the judgment.
The court proceedings were abruptly stopped 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 attracted a large crowd who thronged the courtroom to catch a glimpse, as people were seen using their mobile phones to take his pictures.
Malcom, who addressed journalists, said: “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.
“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.”
Malcom said 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.
He added that he was not against the judgement, rather he was happy with the decision, because it strengthened and enriched the rights of Nigerians as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.