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Muslim lawyers advocate use of hijab by female practitioners

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The Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) has expressed dismay over the recent furor surrounding the right to use hijab by Muslim female practitioners, urging the judiciary to uphold their right to religion as entrenched in the constitution.

MULAN, according to a communiqué signed after its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Benin City, said it wondered why the issues of hijab is still enmeshed in controversies after it has enjoyed affirmative judicial interpretation.

“By Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, every Nigerian has the constitutional right to manifest his/her religion. This constitutional provision has enjoyed several judicial interpretations by superior courts to the effect that this right is inalienable provided it does not go against public interest. The use of Hijab in public institutions in particular has enjoyed affirmative judicial interpretation. For this reason, MULAN NEC wonders why this issue is generating this avoidable furor especially in the echelon of justice.

“MULAN therefore supports the use of Hijab by female Muslims in the Nigerian Law School, Call to the Nigerian Bar and by female Legal Practitioners, Judges and Justices in accordance with the provisions of Section 38. In view of this, MULAN NEC has resolved to design a Hijab compliant collaret with bib for use by Muslim female Legal Practitioners so as to conform with the tradition of the Legal Profession in Nigeria.” It stated.

The communiqué signed by MULAN President, Kamal Dawud, also noted that the dress code announced High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on the 28th of March, 2018, runs contrary to the 2004 resolution of the Body of Benchers which allows female Law School students and Legal Practitioners to use head cover underneath their wigs.

“On this ground and by the provisions of Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this directive is unfortunate, draconian, illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful. MULAN NEC condemns the directive in the press release in the strongest term and urges the FCT High Court to reverse its decision contained in the press release forthwith,” it stated.

The group also clamoured for national integration noting that it would address most of the problems bedeviling the country.

“The much touted Fiscal Federalism, as laudable as the concept may sound, is a serious threat to National integration and thus will not solve the country’s problems,” it stated.

MULAN NEC observed that Muslims in Tafawa Balewa have been displaced from their town for so long and no single Mosque is now standing in the town as all have either been burnt down or demolished. MULAN NEC urges the Federal Government to seriously look into this human right abuse and restore normalcy to Tafawa Balewa township of Bauchi State.

However, the group commended the Federal Government for the safe return of 104 Dapchi Girls, and enjoined it to use every means available to it to secure the release Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi Girl still in captivity.


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