FIRDAOS’ CALL TO BAR: TIME TO ACT!
SANNI KAY. YUSUF
Despite various glaring, factual indications that the use of hijab on professional attires by female muslims is a global norm and practice, the Nigerian Law School together with the Body of Benchers is hell bent on upholding its disgraceful archaism which recently callously saw to the infringement on Firdaos Amasa’s fundamental human right of being called to bar after a painstaking almost-a-decade study of law. Verifiable reports have lucidly shown that the two countries Nigeria models – the United Kingdom and the United States – have lawyers don hijab on their garments. In fact, female police officers and soldiers are equally accorded the liberty to clad in hijab. Those are countries whose number of muslims aren’t any close to that of Nigeria. And in terms of development and progress, our country isn’t equal their start, let alone where they are.
The request to have hijab donned on the lawyer’s attire never resulted in any public outcry, neither did it last a donkey time before it was sanctioned both in the UK and in the US. In spite of the islamophobia therein, female barristers wearing hijab was no problem to the governments. Maybe they didn’t want it. But they couldn’t resist it because it was part of the fundamental human rights of the requesters.
From the university, to the call-to-bar and to the full practice of the profession, wearing hijab isn’t just a norm but a right in the aforementioned countries whose system of government – democracy – we practise. We shouldn’t forget, too that the constitution we use to date was the handiwork of the forebears of one of those nations.
Why then has the Nigerian Law School not realised its show of barbarism – an ardent refusal to align with civilisation? Why are the authorities so obstinate in carrying on with their so-unfortunate anachronism as against international best practice? Lawyers are said to be learned. But this display of hate and deprivation of human rights doesn’t even portray them as learners. Hijab as an Islamic garment is fundamentally allowed to be manifested according to the Nigerian Constitution. This the authorities know, but they have decidedly failed to acknowledge.
It is baffling that even the national legislature could linger the issue this long, despite their numberless sojourns to different countries of the world. Their exposure is enough a factor to end this issue once. If not for the sentiment of the haters and the naivety of the muslims among them, the public hearing recently postponed by the legislators would have brought the issue to a final halt. Now, another set of female muslims who had no bravado like Firdaos had been foisted to act against their wish of donning the hijab. For how long will this linger?
I can smell some looming crisis and an impending danger for the nation on account of the insensitivity of the authorities of the Nigerian Law School. And I wonder why the presidency hasn’t issued a single statement with respect to this issue.
Imagine a scenario where a significant number of female muslim law students to be called to bar all decided to wear their hijabs after gaining entrance into the hall! Imagine the chaos such is likely to generate when they get stopped by officials and they refuse to heed the directive! Imagine grown-up ladies and women being dragged out and carried like sacks of rubbish and their male counterpart cannot withstand the maltreatment of their sisters in faith! Imagine the confrontation by those muslim brothers in their quest to thwart the officials or law enforcers from rough-handling their sisters! Imagine the reaction of the officials or law enforcers towards the brothers’ protection of their fellow faithful! Imagine the likely faceoff that may ensue on account of these happenings! Imagine that the hall goes into a disarray and no one can be called to bar that day.
Is it until this issue degenerates into the above that something drastic will be done?
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