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An Islamic advocacy organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), on Monday, rebuked the management of the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta (FUNAAB) the Ogun state capital, for placing a ban on the use of hijab and niqab by Muslim female students on campus.
The group described the action as sentimental and against the provisions of the Constitution which accommodate the coexistence of different religions in the country.
MURIC alleged that a Muslim female student of the school was asked to remove her veil by some security personnel before she could be allowed to enter the school.

 This, according to the Islamic group, was a display of hate and an effort by the institution to profile innocent Muslim female students on campus.

 It, however, gave the management seven days to change its position or risk a democratic action by the Muslim students on campus.

 MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola said in a statement “No institution of learning, from primary to tertiary, whether federal, state, or even private, has the right to prohibit the use of hijab or niqab. It is a contravention of the provisions of Section 38(i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

 “To that extent, therefore, all anti-niqab pronouncements, memos, circulars, posters, etc., issued by FUNAAB are null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever. The same goes for all such declarations and actions in other academic institutions throughout Yorubaland.  

We are not unaware of the security implications of the use of niqab and hijab, particularly in these days of general insecurity and we are going to be pragmatic in our approach to this danger. There is the assumption that the dresses may aid shoplifting in campus bookshops or libraries. Weapons may also be hidden under such clothing. But the same fears should also be entertained about some of our African dresses, e.g. agbada or babanriga. Or will any institution contemplate the banning of these African dresses on their campuses?

 Therefore, if the authorities are not just keen on profiling Muslims, all they need to do is to ensure that Muslim women wearing niqab or hijab are checked by female security personnel. Their identities can also be verified by female officials who will take them to one side and take a look at their faces and cross-check their identity cards.

 

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