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Hijab: Group petitions Education Minister over alleged harassment of female Muslim students in schools

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A Muslim organisation, Ta’awunu Human Rights Initiative, has petitioned the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu over alleged harassment of female Muslim students in schools for wearing hijab and Niqob.

The group alleged that female Muslim students in some government owned primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Southern Nigeria were being harassed for wearing hijab and Niqob and warned that the development is an invitation to anarchy.

The group in its petition which was signed by the Director General of the organization, Barr. Sulaymon A. Tadese, the group appealed to the Minister to address the issue before it would lead to breakdown of Law and order.

According to the petition “It is pertinent to inform you  that Muslim Students in Government owned Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions in Southern Nigeria were on frequent basis harassed, embarrassed and circumscribed on the sole reason of putting on Hijab”.

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“Hijab is a decree of the Qur’an which is the holy scripture of the Muslims contained in chapter 33 verse 59 of Glorious Qur’an which provided that “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them” which is consistent and encapsulated in the flavour of the provision of Section 38 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended 2011 on freedom of Religion, Thought and expression and a furtherance of the Islamic personal law expressly permitted in Nigeria.”

“It is important to put you on notice that Hijab, whether below the Navel or above it is compulsory for every Female Muslims anywhere they found themselves as a decree of Almighty Allah quoted in the above verse. It is not an exaggeration to say removing Hijab from a Female Muslim head is akin to undressing her, it is considered as a nakedness.”

“It is on record however that, despite the express provision of Section 38 of the Constitution on Freedom of Religion, some Christian named Government owned Primary and Secondary schools had proscribed the wearing of Hijab, harassing students and stealing their inalienable rights.”

The group said between November and December, 6 different cases of harassment of Female Muslims in Hijab and Niqob were reported in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos and Akwa Ibom States.

The group said mentioned Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta as one of the institutions that banned hijab and Niqob.

It also frowned that a lecturer at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso Oyo State who is also the Dean of the College of Nursing threatened a Muslim student that used niqab with rustication.

The petitioner said “At Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, School of Nursing and Midwifery Ile Ife, Osun State, the principal  made some female Muslim Nursing Students to sign an undertaking under duress, that they will not wear Hijab to lecture rooms and that they should be rusticated if they do so”.

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“Similarly, in Community Grammar School Papa, Iwo Local Government of Osun State, a principal had instructed Muslim female students to always make sure their head covering garments (Hijab) are removed before proceeding to entire the School premises of which same had been confirmed and brought to the notice of the state Government of Osun.

“We have gotten a recent report as well from Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta that a lecturer, had given a veiled Muslim student the option of either removing her veil or leave his class. That is indeed a strangulating option to render Muslim citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Southwest irrelevant. The peaceful coexistence of Nigerian is sacrosanct at the expense of not-willing-to abide citizens of the country who are religious stooges and are well sunk in religious bigotry to render the Constitution useless and irrelevant to suit their elusive desires.

“Let it be known that the Security of Nigeria which the Government of the Federation had painstakingly maintained is under attack, as a total breakdown of law and order will add more salt to the injury caused by insecurity in the country which our Human Rights Group stood to avert.

“We believe in the functioning, Supremacy and relevancy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and the fact that its jurisdiction covers every person natural or artificial, Juridical or judicial in the nooks and crannies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Constitution is supreme and its provision shall have binding force on all persons and authorities throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria; this is the oxygen which we believe gave life to the wordings of the pages of the Constitution. We demand the strict application of the Fundamental Rights of all Nigerians.

“To this effect and conclusively, it is important to state that no other law anywhere in Nigeria whether from the Ministry of Education, Council of  Nursing of Nigeria, the council of legal education; any code of conduct and ethical rules, inconsistent with the provision of the constitution should stand, it is by virtue of section 2 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rendered null and void.

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“We are aware of a bill still on a reading entitled ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill 2021, emanating from the House of Representative early this year and towards fasting the passing and before implementation of this Bill which we believe is in the interest of over 70% Nigerian Muslims in the South we demanded that all Board of Education and State Ministries of Education be enjoined to maintain and uphold the provision of section 38 of the constitution on Freedom of Thought, Conscience and religion to maintain peaceful inter-faith coexistence between and among Nigerians.

“As a concern Human Rights Group in Nigeria we considered disrespect for the extant law of the land on Freedom of Religion as a flash point that could crippled further the Security of lives and the wellbeing of all Nigerians which is the primary function of the Government which the Federal Government had tirelessly maintain in the country while we make a call to arrest this illegality before in escalates beyond expectation,

“We are looking forward to a quick response to our demands”, the group said.

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Lagos traditional ruler jailed 15 years

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a traditional ruler to a 15-year jail term for faking his kidnap.

Mutiu Ogundare, who a deposed Baale of Shangisha in the Magodo area of Lagos, was found guilty of the offence by the court.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Ogundare having convicted him of the two counts, bordering on breach of peace and fake kidnapping.

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Midnight gunshots, burglars terrify Lagos community

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Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area

Residents of Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have lamented incessant gunshots every midnight in the area.

The residents, who spoke to our correspondent, also decried the activities of burglars and miscreants who terrorised people in the community.

A resident, who identified himself simply as Biggie for security reasons, said he realised he was not the only one aware of the situation when he got a call from a neighbour while another shooting was going on.

He said, “A neighbour called my phone one midnight to alert me when he heard the gunshots. I told him that wasn’t the first time such was happening. It has been the case since a man in the neighbourhood was shot dead inside his house while wrestling with armed robbers.”

Another resident, Kola Ajayi, said the neighbourhood also had the same challenge in 2019.

“It was after the community hired vigilantes that the gunshots stopped. Now, the situation is repeating itself,” he added.

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The Chairman, Abule Taylor Community Development Association, Oluwaniyi Emmanuel, confirmed the situation to our correspondent but said “it’s been a while I heard the sound.”

He, however, lamented the activities of miscreants and burglars in the area.

Emmanuel said, “The house opposite the open space where we hold our CDA meetings was recently broken into by burglars who carted away all the property. The principal culprit is from Abiodun Aina Street. He has been disowned by his mother.

“Also, armed robbers do attack and extort those who use Automated Teller Machines in the area. The kiosks where alcoholic drinks are sold in the area are becoming a safe haven for criminals who launch operations from the base.

“We’ve complained to the Lagos State Government, but no serious action was taken. The joint CDA wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to deploy officers in the area. However, what the officers were doing was checking vehicle particulars.”

The CDA Assistant Chairman, Okolo Chukwuedo, said, “There was a time a man was killed on the street where the CDA chairman lives. His house was broken into by the people who shot him dead.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached for comments as of press time.

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Zamfara Killing: MURIC hails media for fair reporting

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Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof Ishaq Lakin Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the Nigerian media for properly reporting the killing of Muslims in Zamfara last Friday, September 23, 2022.

MURIC commendation is contained in a press statement signed Sunday by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

However, theIslamic human rights organization slammed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for falsely claiming that it was only Christians that are being killed in Nigeria.

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The statement reads in part: “Terrorists invaded the Friday prayer mosque in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday, 23rd September, 2022 killing fifteen (15) and injuring forty eight (48) Muslim worshippers. The armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and pretended to be worshippers. They opened fire on innocent worshippers after entering the mosque.

“MURIC is particularly impressed by the manner in which the killing was reported. Unlike in the past when the killing of Muslims attract little or no media attention and mere casualty figures are given while the religion of the victims are deliberately left out, this time around, the Nigerian press really went to town with stories of the Zamfara killings and most media houses identified the victims as Muslims. This is quite laudable.

“The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of MURIC reported the use of the following captions in different media houses to describe the Zamfara killings (https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/24/breaking-scores-worshippers-killed-terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaathttps://dailypost.ng/2022/09/24/bandits-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-in-zamfara/https://www.thecable.ng/15-worshippers-killed-as-bandits-attack-mosque-in-zamfarahttps://muslimnews.com.ng/2022/09/25/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat-prayer-kill-15-worshippers-turkiye-envoy-mourns/https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/09/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-2/https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-shoot-15-worshippers-dead-in-zamfara-mosque/https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/09/25/terrorists-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-injure-others-in-zamfara/https://punchng.com/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-gun-down-worshippers/https://tribuneonlineng.com/gunmen-kill-15-worshippers-in-mosque-in-zamfara/https://www.channelstv.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-at-least-11/https://thenationonlineng.net/bandits-invade-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers/)

“Even some foreign media like Voice of America (VOA) and Reuters were not left out of the fair reportage (https://www.voanews.com/a/armed-bandits-kill-15-at-mosque-in-northwest-nigeria-residents-say-/6761811.htmlhttps://www.reuters.com/world/africa/armed-bandits-kill-15-mosque-northwest-nigeria-residents-2022-09-24/https://newscentral.africa/fifteen-killed-forty-eight-injured-as-bandits-ransack-zamfara-mosque/) We salute them all.   

“However, a few media houses need to be awake to the sensitivity of the revelation of identities when reporting incidents like this. It may not have been deliberate, but newsmen need to be conscious of the need not only to be fair but also to be seen to have been fair. At least one or two media houses left out the identity of the faith of the victims of the Zamfara killing (https://www.tvcnews.tv/2018/06/police-confirm-fresh-attack-in-zamfara-village-15-killed/https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/265729-police-confirm-15-killed-in-zamfara-attack.html).

“Both the press and non-governmental organisations should be partners in progress. We cherish the emerging culture of equity, fairness and professionalism in reportage. Both Christians and Muslims deserve fair representation in media reports. This will promote peaceful coexistence among the different faiths.

 “The manner of reporting the Zamfara killings thus revealed the fact that it was Muslims that were killed and injured last Friday. We therefore wonder how the Christian Association of Nigeria arrived at its conclusion that only Christians were being killed in Nigeria and it tried to sell such a dangerous idea to the West, knowing it to be false.

“MURIC is constrained to ask CAN if the 15 worshippers killed and the 48 injured in Zamfara mosque last Friday were also Christians? What of the 200 worshippers killed and the 165 injured in Boko Haram’s bomb attack in Kano Central Mosque on 28th November 2014 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30250950)? Were they also Christians? Do Christians attend Jumu’ah prayers in mosques?

“The intention and likely outcome of such vicious lies are not lost on us. America and its Western allies like Britain, France and Germany are likely to impose travel sanctions on Muslim leaders in government, label some Islamic organisations in Nigeria as terrorist groups, place some Islamic scholars on terror watch and begin a process of secret supply of weapons to Christian leaders and Nigerian churches.

“But the greatest benefit would have been a geometric increase in the pouring of monetary support in billions of dollars, euro and British pounds to Christian leaders and groups.

“MURIC condemns the killing of innocent Muslims who had only gone to the mosque for their Jumu’ah prayer last Friday. For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our stand that terrorists and bandits are not part of us. They belong to the evil circle of criminals. They are not part of the Muslim community.

“They are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace. Nobody, therefore, should associate them or their actions with the peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims of Nigeria. In the same vein, it will be naïve for any individual or group within or outside the country to link the actions of terrorists and bandits with the Nigerian government.

“We commiserate with Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara, on the senseless killing of innocent citizens of his state. We pray that Allah will forgive the dead and grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss and the economic empowerment to take care of dependants left behind by their bread winners. Above all, we pray for peace in Zamfara, the entire North and the rest of Nigeria.”

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