It all started when a principal in Lagos, Nigeria flogged a junior secondary 1 student 43 times for wearing Hijab in school.
After that incident, Muslim groups and parents petitioned the Lagos state government and before any one could say jack, the commissioner for education Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye announced that the use of Hijab and head scarf for Muslim women would not be allowed in Lagos state public schools.
She said, they came to this conclusion after they had dialogued with many stakeholders who included Muslim student delegates in a forum chaired by one Alhaji Oyinlomo, the commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture. They agreed at the meeting that students could only use their Hijab when Muslim girls want to go for prayers, read the Quran or when they are going for Jumat prayer on Fridays.
Honourable Commissioner ma'am, can I ask if I'm permitted to ask you some few questions?
Ma, who is Alhaji Oyinlomo and how grounded is Alhaji's in Islamic knowledge?
Who are the stakeholders and can you please give us their names and which organization they represent?
What is the state's position on child abuse or is 45 strokes of cane not enough to be tagged child abuse?
Where is the principal that committed the heinous act against an innocent girl who was obeying the laws of her religion which was not in any way against the constitution of Nigeria?
Will the principal be ever charged to court for gross misconduct on duty and threat to the students under her care?
Having asked you the above questions, I need to make this clear to you and the state government, why an average covering Muslimah hold the HIJAB and Head scarf esteem as their pride and identity of showing who they truly are.
Allah (SWT) commanded us in the holy Quran that, "tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, (with their Khimar) and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty. They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed." - 24:31
We didn't write this on our own, it’s an injunction of our religion and we hold this dear to our hearts. We are only paying obedience to the Supreme Being.
After the announcement, Muslims all over Lagos perceived the announcement as infringement of their fundamental human right.
How can this barbaric act happen in a cosmopolitan society like Lagos, oh our darling Lagos with a governor who is a lawyer of repute and a Muslim?
I thought our governor should know better being a Muslim himself and a legal luminary who is aware of the importance of hijab in Islam and the fundamental human rights of Lagos Muslim women who have done nothing to contradict the constitution of the country.
I'm a Muslimah, I'm proud of my religion, I do not support any act of terrorism. Over hundreds of Muslimah that I know and I've met will never support any act of terrorism in Lagos or Nigeria at large. Why should you tag me or my sisters in faith as potential terrorists because of an act of obedience to our creator?
We need to put the record straight and clear that we love peace and we will not in any way undermine the peaceful co-existence of humanity in Nigeria or elsewhere. Islam is a religion of peace and together with our Christian brothers and sisters will support any sincere government that is ready to curb the menace of terrorism in the land. Government should not in any way use this new policy against the usage of hijab to cover their inefficiency in managing the insurgency of Boko Haram in the Northern part of Nigeria.
We are open to new changes and will support any sincere approach to curb this national embarrassment but we do not find this government bickering on hijab funny. At least we were all living witnesses to the approach used by the American government and its citizen to fish out the perpetrators of the Boston marathon bomb attack. At least nobody asked the Muslim girls to pull off their hijabs.
On Monday, a communiqué was issued by the commissioner for information and strategy Mr. Lateef Ibirogba in which he stated categorically that Lagos state government has not banned or disallowed the use of hijab in public schools in the state, that they are still meeting with stakeholders on the issue.
Mr. commissioner sir, I like your reaction and the manner in which your ministry has handled the issue; at least this has shown that we are truly in a democracy But I do not want to be deceived by any method of damage control.
I hope this government is sincere about it.
I hope this government is sincere about it.
I read from Mrs. Oladunjoye’s statement that whoever wishes that his daughter should wear hijab while going to school and within the school premises should send such a child to a private Muslim school.
I want to believe that statement was a slip of the tongue if not I won’t be surprise because she obviously does not know what it takes to hold elective position in a democratic setting, she was appointed so the masses mean nothing to her.
However I’m sure governor Fashola knows better, let me remind madam that when His Excellency was seeking election and soliciting for our support he never promised us that removing our HIJAB and HEAD SCARVES will be our gain for voting.
Again, I must tell you ma’am that the Hijabist also pay taxes and our monies are part of those used in maintaining these public schools, I’m very sure it’s part of the monies used in paying your salaries and that of the principal who flogged the innocent student.
All I expected of you at the initial stage of this brouhaha was for you to form a committee who will design apparel that will accommodate the Muslim students who wish to use hijab which will be uniform and it will be adopted based on the uniform colour of each school in the state. So whichever student that faults this new adopted uniform will face the law.
Ma’am, we must thank you for testing our level of faith. This has shown that we are one of those whom have submitted to the authority of Allah and we shall always be identified among thousand with our Hijab.
Hijab is our pride.