By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Coalition of Nigeria Muslim Women, on Wednesday urged the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the bill seeking to institutionalise the use of hijab in schools.
Miss Amasa Firdause-Al-Jannah, Human Rights Officer of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), made the call at a news briefing to mark the 2023 World Hijab Day, held in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 1st Feb. of every year is marked as World Hijab Day worldwide to create awareness of the Muslim woman’s dress.
The day is also used to highlight its position, what it represents, galvanise support for its wearers, and campaign against its prohibition, castigation, or maltreatment of its wearer.
Firdause-Al-Jannah also stressed the need for NASS to pass laws that served the interest of all citizens and protect the rights and freedoms of all.
These freedoms include education, health, employment, finance, home ownership and careers regardless of what one wears.
” The House of Representatives introduced a bill seeking to institutionalise the use of hijab in schools.
” The bill titled ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021’ is seeking to provide a mechanism for enforcing certain provisions of the Constitution and other international laws that recognise the right of a female to adorn hijab in public and private establishments in Nigeria.
She said:” Therefore, we urge you in strong terms, to speedily pass the ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021.
“It passed its second reading in March 2021. The passage of this bill will surely be worthwhile for posterity.”
Firdause-Al-Jannah also said that the group would not relent in ensuring the enforcement of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the decided cases.
She added: ” We will continue to push forward and need all the support we can get from citizens, the three arms of government, media, religious leaders, traditional leaders, educational institutions, CSOs and all relevant bodies.
” The COVID-19 pandemic had truly changed the world’s perspectives and methods of virtually everything, including clothing.
” Now over 50 countries have made wearing the mask mandatory. We wait to see whether the strong objection in some climes, to face coverings by Muslim women will hold water in the near future.”
On her part, the National President, Sisters of Jannah, Ramatu Aliyu called on the Ministry of Education at the Federal and State levels to pay attention to the alleged recurring cases of ictimisation of students.
She urged: ” They should guarantee the sanctity of Nigerian laws of freedom of worship, association, and expression for all persons devoid of sentiment.
” Indeed, re-designing, re-calibrating, and refocusing policies, programmes, and interventions by institutions and authorities will only result in widespread success and impact.
” We ask that the Ministry takes decisive action by issuing and re-issuing circulars to these schools to remind and caution them to protect this right of girls and ladies to wear hijab in schools and Universities.”
Also, Salamatu Abubakar, a legal practitioner and a member of the coalition, call on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to introduce an optional set of uniforms for Muslim female corps members that desire to appear in modest clothing.
According to her, the current dress kit issued to corps members needed to be reviewed to recognise the right of Muslim corps members to conform to their values.
Abubakar urged: “They should also set up a monitoring mechanism at orientation camps to ensure no corps member is denied the right to protect the sanctity of her beliefs by removing her hijab or being forced to wear items such as short nickers.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
reports the coalition was formed to promote and propagate issues of concern that affect the private and public life of women, especially Muslim women and girls. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani