Nigerian lawmakers investigate law school over Hijab crisis
Abdulsalam Amasa Firdaus, a law graduate from University of Ilorin was barred from the bar because of her belief
By Rasaq Bamidele
Abuja, Nigeria. Dec. 19, 2017 (AltAfrika)-The crisis caused by the refusal of the Nigeria’s Law School to call a Muslim lady to the bar last Wednesday has caught the attention of the country’s parliament which has promptly ordered a probe into the matter.
The lady, Abdulsalam Amasa Firdaus, a law graduate from University of Ilorin was barred from entering the hall where the ceremony was taking place because of her insistence to wear her Islamic head cover (Hijab), under her wig.
The House of Representatives, has, on Tuesday ordered a probe into the issue that assumed a national outrage.
The Paliament unanimously took the decision after a motion calling for probe of the controversy was adopted, few hours after the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs of Nigeria (SCIAN), the country’s apex Muslim umbrella body threatened a mass protest and legal action over the incident.
The law school said Muslim head covering, is not allowed at the ceremony. But Firdaus said such dress code breaches her religious right as a Muslim woman, apparently relying on different court rulings which had pronounced the head covering as a fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Nigeria’s constitution.
The motion sponsored by a national lawmaker, Abubakar Damburam stated that the action of the Nigeria Law the constitution and urged the parliament to wade into the controversy.
“The constitution …provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion of belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance,” Damburam quoted.
“This (section 38 of the constitution) supersedes any provision by any government agency or institution,” he added.
Having adopted the motion unanimously, the parliament therefore asked its Committees on Judiciary and Justice to probe the incident and submit a report within two weeks.
However, the law school itself has indicated that it would meet on the development later this week to revisit the matter, perhaps, with a view to finding a middle course to incident that has polarise the country along religious divides.