Law School/Hijab Saga, Part II By Rasheed Abubakar
Law School/Hijab Saga, Part I
Despite DG’s intervention, Hijab still not allowed at Law Schools
By Rasheed Abubakar
The urgent intervention of the Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma into the lingering Hijab crisis rocking the Nigerian Law School would have yielded positive results if the authorities of the six Law School campuses had allowed the Muslim students to use the Hijab.
The DG, who was formerly in charge of the Yola, Adamawa State campus until his resumption in February 2018, reportedly told the Coordinators of the campuses to allow any student who wanted to use the Hijab to do so, pending the time the matter would be resolved.
However, there was no circular or written document to that effect, which made some stakeholders panic and show uncertainty about the directive.
Despite the reported DG’s intervention, the authorities of the Nigerian Law School campuses eventually carried out their threat as reported in our exclusive report, first published yesterday, Tuesday, February 12.
The Bar Part II Muslim female students were denied their constitutional rights to use the Hijab at the Enugu, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Kano campuses.
Feelers from four of the six campuses showed that they were however allowed to wear skull caps, which according to some of the students, was “better than none.”
At the Lagos campus of the Law School, there was no attempt by any of the Muslim female students to use the Hijab at the Law Dinner held yesterday (Tuesday). This, we reliably gathered, might be attributed to the earlier threat.
The presence of a prominent Muslim lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) at the Victoria Island, Lagos campus yesterday (Tuesday) could have been a morale booster for the students to appear in the simple Hijab style, yet they feared its consequences.
Earlier on their arrival at the Lagos campus in November 2017, some of the female students were already using the usual shoulder-length Hijab, while some wore the Khimar (at night, after classes and during lectures) until today (Monday), when they were warned not to wear the Hijab for the dinner.
Some Muslim female students at the Bwari, Abuja campus adorned their shoulder-length Hijab during the Day 1 of the dinner night, which saw all the students divided into three batches.
Another source however said there were no users of the Hijab among the first batch that participated in the Abuja dinner, adding that many of them belong to the 2nd and 3rd batches holding today, Wednesday and tomorrow, Thursday, February 14 and 15 respectively.
“We’ve told them to use the Hijab based on what we reportedly heard from the DG”, said the source, who preferred not to be mentioned.
All efforts to speak with the Director General, Nigerian Law School or any official of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) proved abortive as at the time of filing this report today, Wednesday, February 14, 2018.
Muslim netizens and prominent Islamic organisations continue to react to the development, as they call on all stakeholders to address the incessant violation of Muslims’ rights to use the Hijab.
The Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof Lakin Akintola said in a statement titled: “Nigerian Law Schools provoking Muslims”, that “we remind authorities of these Law School campuses of the provisions of Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution, which prohibits the placing of any citizen under any internally formulated restriction.
“We also call their attention to Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991), which forbids officials from taking any action ‘prejudicial to the rights of any person, knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy’”, he said.
According to the human rights advocate, those who make rules and regulations impossible to obey make it impossible not to disobey, adding that, “Law Schools where anti-Muslim dressing codes are issued in a multi-religious Nigeria do not belong to decent and accommodating communities of men and women”.
The National Amir of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Mallam Muhammad Jameel Muhammad has described the move as a deliberate attempt to plunge the country into religious crisis, as if the threats facing the nation are not enough.
In a statement tagged “Do not blame us, but those that left us with no alternative other than turning back, having been pushed to the wall”, Mallam Muhammad said it is obvious that there is a grand plan by agents of certain interests to ostracize the Muslims from the legal profession, in order to perfect the plan of making them second class citizens with little or no rights at all.
While calling on all the relevant government agencies and stakeholders to urgently address the discriminations against the Hijab, Mallam Muhammad urged the Muslims, particularly MSSN members in the Law Schools to be calm and law abiding, stressing that, “they must insist that their rights be accorded them without being trampled upon.”
Rasheed Abubakar is a journalist and the author of “Hijab and the Nigerian Press”. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org |twitter: @rawshield123
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