The Nigerian  Law School: Hijab , to be or not to be, matters arising and implications

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Religion has always been the opium of people , as Karl Marx opined and this theory came to bare again when a young Muslim lady protested the hijab ban within the legal circles of Nigeria law school. It has been noted that the Nigerian Law School is a secular institution and most Nigerian citizens , Muslims inclusive have seen hijab as a distraction to the educational qualities of the institution!

UNILORIN graduate, Miss Amasa Firdaus was denied from being called to bar last week for refusing to remove her Hijab worn under her wig. This has brought into the public discuss whether to allow or not to allow hijab within the ranks and file of the movie profession.

Just like in Europe where the issue of hijab has been a raging issue! Some countries have made it clear that hijab in official places is frowned at and while some people , notable of the Muslim community are in support of this!

In Europe , according to a report by Jennifer Rankin

“The ECJ issued a joint judgment in the cases of two women, from France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove headscarves.”

“An internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination,” the court said.

Some have said that hijab is in tandem  with decency and morality. In a morally decadent society , what is morals is subjective and hijab doesn’t make one (a)moral but parental upbringing. As a father and king,  the words of Sultan of Sokoto , he opined that “

He asked Nigerians to reflect and see that this is not only an Islamic mode of dressing but a Christian mode of dressing. It is also a Judaism mode of dressing and it is a dressing for every decent woman. It is a dressing for any woman who wants to preserve her chastity in public. This is expected. But, law school is a legal institution designed to train lawyers that should look at things from a logical perspective not from a moral perspective. A lawyer would view divorce from a logical perspective while a moralist would view the same divorce from a moral perspective. A lawyer is trained to rise above such pettiness like morality and cultural affinity rather look at things from logical and universal approach. Good or bad is what is reserved for moralist, a lawyer’s interpretation of good or bad is hinged on logic. I believe that is what The Law School is trying to do . If we don’t get this hijab issue right, very soon the military would be demanding for hijab for their female cadets or the custom officers would be demanding for hijab for female customs officers ,even the policewoman that is a Muslim !

The last time we checked , Nigeria is a secular country and there are reasons that the founding fathers put the country in secular route. It would amount to travesty if religions start demanding for  a preferential treatment. The celestial Order of Christianity might demand white clothes and no sandals, the traditionalist like Ifa, Sango, Amadioha adherents would demand for white chalk setups and other traditional African religion  motifs as we saw during the fiasco when Aregbesola’s state in South West where children came dressed according to their religious leaning ! It was a mockery and slap to the state .

When you are in Rome , you have to dress like Romans , so of you are in law induction, diet or any legal meeting, near in mind that it’s your intellect that matters and not what you were. This is what some of us in Africa have refused to  understand! We have to know that secular setups makes religion secondary . It is a setup that equalises and makes everybody same not presenting one religion above others. The issue isn’t all about hijab but adherence to the law and order that governs a group which the young Muslim lady has refused to adhere to. She is a lawyer and must understand the importance of her action. Going the protest route isn’t what is associated with her profession. Lawyers are known to be intellectual and logical, her approach should be logical and intellectual, bringing religion and it’s associated trait to the profession should and must be frowned upon. We have seen the calamities and things that religion has wrecked on Africa and Nigeria in particular! Religion is a private issue and she must understand that or head to court as a lawyer to make her displeasure known.

Nuela , a lady from University of Nigeria (UNN) made a first class in her first degree , and came to law school also made a first class ! She didn’t wear hijab and didn’t demand that the law school must adhere to her Christianity or principles governing her  religion! She went and made a mark with her intellect and by so doing , elevating women and bringing dignity to womenfolk! I am thinking that this lady should take a current from her mate and colleague! Both are women ,both are in the same law school, the same year and also with same aspirations ! Wearing hijab shouldn’t be an issue, what should be the issue is the quality of graduates been churned out of the law school which the hijab debate is diversionary or a distraction!

Tony Emeka Nwosu

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