The National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), the umbrella organisation of all Muslim societies in the country, has cautioned the National Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School to tread softly on their stand against female lawyers who chose to adorn their hijab (Muslim head veil).
This is contained in a statement signed the President of the Council, Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde and e-mailed to The Renaissance on Thursday in Lagos.
NACOMYO stated that the controversies and public outcry trailing the denial of the University of Ilorin female Muslim law graduate, Amasa Fridaus, from being called to the bar would have been avoided if the two legal education bodies had been sensitive and respect the country ‘s constitution on freedom of religion.
It said the Judicial Educational Council, in particular, should have tow a ‘line of reasoning’ and applied wisdom as against being sentimental that culminating into denying the student the pride of being called to the bar.
Akintunde said Fridaus should be given a ‘pat on the back’ for her insistence as she is one of those young and courageous graduates, who by their now expertise, would want to test their ability and the knowledge they have acquired.
“NACOMYO observed that the Council of Legal Education’s action amounted to perversion and rape on Nigeria’s constitution, regrettably by those who supposedly should know better and protect it.
The council noted that the Legal Education Council’s behaviour had become the practice elsewhere in specialised and uniformed professions, thus constituting an impediment to female Muslims, who so desire to adorn the ‘hijab’ as a dressing code.
The apex body for Muslim Youths ascribed the anomaly and disregard for the constitution, to the failure of those professions to recognise and respect the law of our lands, which guarantees ‘freedom of worship’, while formulating policies and ethical codes for their professions.
“It is expedient and imperative for those occupational groups, be it government or private, to respect the fundamental rights of their members within the context of the constitution.
“The development has brought to the fore the incidence of religious intolerance and persecution in public establishments such as NYSC, Armed forces, Immigration/Passport Offices and NIMC (National Identity Card Management Commission) among others, which the Muslims face.
“It is high time that the authorities address the anomaly once and for all,” the statement read in part.
While urging the Judicial Educational Council, the Bar and Body of Benchers to exercise caution on the seeming delicate issue, NACOMYO enjoined the legal bodies to verify the matter and take appropriate steps at redress and prevent a recurrence.
It opined that an ‘apology’ to the cheated Miss Fridaus and rectification against the next ‘call to bar” ceremony would lay the matter, which has raised dust, to rest and the ranging public outcry ‘nipped’in the bud’.
According to NACOMYO, seeing Fridaus’s appearance on the day (as shown in a picture) shows that she had only wanted to maintain her usual appearance, even in the Law School, rather than camouflage.
The argument that it Is unconventional and indecorous to adorn hijab with wig should not surface because the law did not specifically stipulate against it.
Meanwhile, NACOMYO has called on state governments, especially Osun and Lagos where verdicts have been passed in favour of hijab, to allow the wearing of hijab any female student, who so desire it.
NACOMYO called on other states, and especially Ogun state, which has made the pronouncement, allowing white cape hijab for desirous students to ‘put pen to paper’ and circularise it.
It stated that government business is ever done in writing and as such, it should back it up with necessary legal backing.
NACOMYO enjoined those at the helm of affairs and policy implementors to eschew bias in the conduct of governance, stating that Nigerians should not be made to feel like “aliens” in their country on account of faith they profess.
By Our Correspondent
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