Hijab Controversy: Another complainant emerges; accuses law school of victimisation

Nigerian Law School graduate, Amasa Firdaus
Nigerian Law School graduate, Amasa Firdaus. [Photo credit: Al Jazeera]

Another Muslim law graduate, Aisha Zubair, has come out to say she was victimised and forced to remove her Hijab by officials of the Council of Legal Education and the Law School during the last call-to-bar exercise.

Ms. Zubair, who made her claim known to PREMIUM TIMES through the Muslim Rights Council, MURIC, said she was never allowed to put her Hijab on despite pleas.

Ms. Zubair’s claim is coming against the backdrop of the controversy generated over the barring of Amasa Firdaus, another law graduate, from the exercise.

Ms. Amasa was barred from accessing the venue of the exercise for refusing to remove her Hijab.

The issue has continued to generate heated debates across the nation with the House of Representatives promising an investigation of the matter.

MURIC quoted Ms. Zubair as narrates her experience at the venue of the exercise thus:
“I was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 12th day of December, 2017 in the morning. Some other sisters and I were on the queue together to enter the hall. At the entrance, the law school lecturer there demanded for our hijab, she asked that we remove both the hijab and the cap and give it to her. She demanded same of those wearing ordinary cap too.

“We begged to go and remove it properly in the toilet and she obliged. We were allowed to enter only when we had removed everything from our heads. When I went to my seat, I donned the hijab back on but I was approached about twice to remove the hijab, as other sisters were approached too.

”When the programme started, I put it back on, tucked it into the collarrete and placed the wig on it. When it was my turn to be called to the stage, I approached the stage with the hijab on, took a bow like everyone else but did not shake the hands of the bencher there. I was given my certificate like everyone else and I proceeded to my seat.

“When I got to my seat, a law school lecturer was waiting there and she started shouting at me and hurling insults at me for daring to wear the hijab in the hall saying I wanted to disgrace them. She demanded I remove the hijab and throw it on the floor, which I did, then she started to rub the hijab on the floor. Then she kicked it around several times before asking a guard to guard the hijab and not allow me retrieve it. Then she came back with another lecturer to seize the certificate I had just collected from me saying it was order from above for doing what I did. I begged but they didn’t listen. After the ceremony, I went to them and after so much pleas, I was given back the certificate with a stern warning.”

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately get a reaction from the Council of Legal Education and the Law School at the time of filing report.

MURIC in a statement on Thursday commended the House of Representatives for wading into the controversy.

“Nonetheless, we wish to call the attention of the Committee on Justice and Judiciary which has been saddled with the task of unearthing the truth about this matter to the fact that AbdulSalaam Firdaus Amasa was not the only female Muslim law graduate whose Allah-given fundamental human right was violated on that day and at that event,” the rights group said.

The organization alleged further that, “All the female Muslim law graduates who wore hijab to the event were forced to remove their hijab but one of them, Aisha Zubair by name, was treated like an ordinary criminal and subjected to public disgrace. She suffered serious psychological trauma which still haunts her to date as a result of being forced to appear ‘half nude’ in public. We must add here that an average female Muslim, who is used to wearing hijab is naturally sensitive to being made to appear in public without it. It breaks them down emotionally.

“MURIC takes serious objection to the treatment of Aisha Zubair. It is tyrannical, repressive and horrible. We urge the Committee on Justice and the Judiciary to consider this information during its investigations. The lecturer who traumatised this lady must be fished out and punished according to the law of the land. She has subjected Aisha Zubair to public opprobrium, inflicted emotional injury on her and assaulted her personal dignity. This action violates Section 34 (i) (a) of the 2011 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Not only that, she has provoked all Nigerian Muslims by treating the hijab in such a contemptuous manner. It is a hate action capable of igniting a monumental religious crisis whose outcome no one can predict. Only due punishment can satisfy Nigerian Muslims and calm frayed nerves. This law teacher is a disgrace to the law profession, a square peg in a round hole. She must be taught a lesson as a deterrent to many others like her.”

The organisation appealed to Nigerians “who have been provoked by the ugly incident to exercise patience and wait for the House Committee on Justice and the Judiciary to submit its report.”


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  • disqus_jLJUa0YmE9

    But why the hatred by the Christian toward Hijab?

    • Najite Dede

      Not hatred by the Christian towards the hijab. (Remember that Law school is a secular organisation, neither Christian nor Muslim) The behaviour of this one person(if she was actually identified as a Christian) should not be seen as as the way all Christians behave towards the wearing of the hijab. As a matter of fact I make bold to say that this was not the way a Christian should behave towards ANYONE. It would be the same thing if someone came to a church where the rules are women must wear a scarf and the person was treated badly and insulted and thrown out.The fact that places have rules does not mean that common decency and respect can be ignored and those same rules are called on to defend such behaviour. There are too many things threatening to divide us right now. As both faith make claims to peace, we should focus on finding peaceful solutions. God bless Nigeria.

      • ahmed

        we keep deceiving ourselves secular secular! we all know that those who brought this things are Christians and we are forced to adopt, even if it is against our belief, why are we been insincere? what will the Hijab stop after going through all the rudiment of law study, this is not about a particular code, but it is simply an affront to
        Islam and Muslims, it is even worse in the sense that it is a woman that is displaying such degree of hatred to a woman.

        • Nwa_Afrique

          Mumu, we don’t want your useless head scarf in the law school. If it offends, start a sharia school.

          • commonsense

            Dont mind them , sharia law is .org appealing to them , but the western law that is appealing to them , they dont want to follow the rules .

        • commonsense

          But there is Islamic law which you are free to study , nobody forced her to study western law or as you said adopt it.

    • Zygote

      what if I come with my Epkepkeran and Shango attire for the ceremony will you support me?

      • Goks

        If you have been allowed to were the d attire for 1 year during Law sch receiving lectures, going to practice (attending court sessions), then it is wrong to decide on the final day that your attire is wrong.

        They should have posted it in a bulletin well before the call to bar what type of dresses are allowed and what would not be allowed.

        The good thing is that they are lawyers and all you need is someone to test the issue in court and a precedent is set.

        Remember the Lagos Hijab controversy, it was simply settled in court. Whether we accept it or not, once a court rules, we either accept it or appeal to a higher a court until the supreme Court decides the issue.

        Will you support wearing of Mini skirt and see thru blouses also? Do people wear their Sango attire every day?

        • Angry Niaja

          Goks, they do have a dress code, and all Law School student’s are aware of them, they’re even checked out before being allowed into the lecture halls. These women were ALL aware of these dress code

        • seegee

          Funny thing is people wear all sorts under the robe. No one is screaming abut wearing a revealing outfit under the robe which plenty do. What’s next? Please if you’re wearing socks don’t show up because it’s not part of the rules. An absolute joke. Nigeria prefers to remain tethered to colonial mentality. We pick and choose what western customs suit us. So long as it can be used to show you’re westernised

        • Ezekiel. J.

          They can if they like so the law school must allow the confusion but I believe orderliness is first in everything or confusion will continue as it is in Nigeria of today.

          • Gabriel Alicho

            If they allow hijab, then they should be ready to permit any other group with their own dress code. And you will see that confusion the Muslims are looking for.

        • Snatch

          I wear my boxers and singlets everyday! My dada hair is part of my Rastafarian belief, why wouldn’t it be allowed me in Ansar-u-Deen College, but you want the law school to recognize your hijab?

    • wazobia decomposition !!!!!!

      no hatred ……………. need to study law wearing a religious garb? go to a law school that permits that from the on set .if none exists,create one……….. NO NEED TRYING TO CHANGE RULES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME ……………….. now,can i wear my white garment and sosorobia oil too to the ceremony? would you accept that???!!

      • Waandu

        Your white garment is a ceremonial dress, the hijab is everyday wear, it is ordinary dress for a Muslim woman. You can’t stop someone from wearing their ordinary everyday dress. It is just so difficult for you guys to accept diversity, that some people are actually different. But you want white people to stop racism.

        • wazobia decomposition !!!!!!

          how do you know my white garment is ceremonial? even if it is,the law graduation programme isn’t a “ceremony” that warrants me wearing one if i so desire ? you need to see people that wear that garment every day and night? if you look hard enough,you will find them……………… if you need it as an everyday wear in secular institutions,it can be arranged and forced down the throat of EVERYONE ……..,am not trying to stop anyone from wearing their ordinary everyday religious garb,just that,you are also not entitled to stop me from wearing my own religious garb, whether it is an everyday wear or not …………………..

      • seegee

        Even if the rules are outdated and archaic? What did this people go to school for and to study law at that if they can’t use the powers of the institution to try and better their lives? Lastly do you wear these garments every single day? Are they part of your identity? Something tells me no. A big emphatic no

        • wazobia decomposition !!!!!!

          do you WANT me to wear it as an everyday garb?it can be arranged to impress you ………….. the hijab is commanded of every “good” muslim woman,mine is by choice…………… and which law stops me from wearing it on a special occasion such as the law graduation ceremony to identify with my own religious leaning???!!! only the institution’s laws i signed onto prior to the beginning of the programme………….. if do not agree to their terms,there is always an option,leave …………………. break that law and every other religious garb whether a daily wear or not becomes entitled to same privileges . ………

    • Amos b

      So the Nigeria law school is now a Christian school? I don’t know why the hijab issue is still going on even in the mist of educated muslim people. The law school has their dressing rules and she knows this very well….. As an accouting student i know that on monday of every week we must wear suit to class and my lecturer then was a Muslim, he will always send out if u wear anything different apart from the agreed dressing code of monday. So please stop blabing. Christians has no time to hate Muslims unlike the Muslims.

  • Angry Niaja

    My question to these people why now!!!! I don’t and cannot understand this, Nigeria is dancing towards, indeed the whole world is sitting on a keg of gun powder, the next world war will definitely be a relious war, the way things are going, Muslims are less tolerant of Christians, I know some diehards will vilify me right now, it never was like this in the past, all these hijab etc, was not that prominent, you hardly saw this in the public domain, now you have hundreds of people dressed in black, and some only their eyes are visible, if it was the other way round and it was Christians who donned these often times frightening apparels, the Muslims would be up in arms. Muslims daily attack and kill innocent Christians etc, even converting from Muslim to Christianity is an automatic death warrant. Why, can’t people live in peace, the way it was in Nigeria a few years ago? The lady in question in my opinion was being deceitful, someone who should know better, a lawyer, she complied by removing her hijab, once inside, she donned same, these are the makings of a dishonest, and future bribe taking legal practitioner in the making

    • seegee

      Mr man educate yourself. Those full clothing’s that cover every inch are not hijab. The hijab only cover the hair. You could even wear a simple scarf if that’s to your fancy. As to your question of why now? Why not now? Women are empowered today and have a right to speak up when their own society does all it can to silence them. Why should they keep quiet. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Adidas religious persecution we also have people with disabilities victimised against, people of different ethnicity, even worse the “lower class” populace are totally ignored. The time to speak up is now. I suggest you use your voice if your rights are being trampled upon. Being meek will do no one any good whatsoever

  • wazobia decomposition !!!!!!

    hmmm …..where are my “sutan” and peacock feathers?

  • Waandu

    It is just so difficult for some Nigerians to accept diversity, that there are people out there who are not like them and have a different set of conventions and ethos. The hijab is NOT a ceremonial dress and people should stop comparing it to a catholic nun’s dress or dress of a white garment church. The hijab is everyday regular wear for a Muslim woman and the law school cannot stop people from wearing their everyday dress where it doesn’t threaten law and order. Nigerian Muslims live in their own country and no institution can create rules that marginalise all Muslim women. Non-Muslims in Nigeria are just intolerant; they preach tolerance when it suits them but can’t as much as tolerate dress that is different from theirs. When they are abroad they want white people not to be racist towards them but at home, they can’t even bear seeing a dress that they are not familiar with!

    • Hassan Isah

      Thank you very much for this wonderful piece. Unity in diversity is no where to be found in Nigeria.

    • seegee

      Very true. We’re one of the most xenophobic bunch in the continent. I mean after all these years some people equate hijab to full regalia wien by priests and other religious heads. It’s such a shame the lack of acceptance and from all sides nto just non Muslims. You’d think all this collective suffering we all endure – Muslim and Christians alike we’d be more tolerant of each other but alas

    • Otile

      Don’t blame me for not tolerating a Muslim who wants to hide under cloak of hijab to hurt people.

    • Snatch

      It’s the height of calculated ignorance to say that a nun’s apparel is ceremonial!

      Your hijab can allow wearing of suits and skirts while the hijab covers the head, a nun’s gown is from throat to the ankles and the cape that covers their head, ears and drops on their shoulders! What nonsense are you pseudo Muslims coming here to talk trash, “we are better than you” shit!

  • Hassan Isah

    When will Nigerians learn to accommodate other people’s religious beliefs, we are just shouting that we are religious,if America a country will low interest in religion allow police,soldiers and lawyers to wear hijab, why cant Nigeria a country with an higher interest allow it. I smell islamophobia and stigmatization aimed at Muslims. Enough is enough

    • Otile

      When will Nigerians learn to accommodate suicde bombers because it is part of Islamic doctrine? Nothing can facilitate the bombing more than hiding explosives under hijab. A good deal, isn’t it?

      • Ahmadu W. Atakpo

        Those oil facilities we they them blow for Niger Delta na Muslim de do am. Your low reasoning never do

        • Snatch

          Mention just one where human live was lost; sabotage of critical assets is different from mass murder which sadly has taken root amongst quite a number of Muslims.

          Violent rebellion to institutions and cultural norms of others is another form of another large number of the adherents, examples abound in UK, US, Canada and Australia where they are insistent that pork shoulder be axed from school menus as if they were forced to immigrate to those countries and kept against their wills! Were they not eating their pork when filed their papers for visas and paid thousands of dollars to be granted?

      • Kawata Abdulmumin

        Hijabs vary,what kind of hijabs are u talking about here ? Could you please clarify?

        • Snatch

          Please educate our ignorance as we are not well schooled on the varieties of hijab that does and doesn’t offend Islamic rights to the choice of the wearer.

    • Kazeem olayinka

      You speak the true and the all words

    • BUKOLA AFOLABI

      Why can’t we for a while be sincere and free our mind from being sentimental. We must agree to the fact that every institution has rules and regulations that are laid down to achieve its predefined goal(s). Biasness on the ground of religion would do nothing good but rather truncates the realization of the purposed aim. Let us free ourselves from mental enslavement from whatsoever ground and uphold the tradition of any institution we choose to be identified with, or otherwise we forget the identity.

  • Ezekiel. J.

    So without hijab Muslim ladies are half nude but we can’t see their panties?

    • seegee

      Yes they truly do feel exposed. Take a moment to talk to a Muslim female who has decided to wear one, you never know you might just learn something

      • Otile

        It is just that they have been brainwashed by deceiving Imams and nothing else.

        • Kawata Abdulmumin

          Who is brain washing who friend ?if we want to talk of brain washing here,christians have been derailed by it by your so called pastors who can not read a verse from the bible offhand

          • Snatch

            It’s not a test of Christian piety to read verses of the Bible offhand; instead of trying, and in the process, pass wrong message, why not just pick up your Bible and read from it?

            In the Bible, we as Christians are taught to obey the law, most of the laws are steeped in traditions; if your sisters do not want to abide by the rules for one to be called to the bar, why submit themselves that they are ready, willing and expectant to be so admitted?

            Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi read Muslim Law, he did not submit himself to Nigeria Law School where he would, as a student who studied law from a foreign institution do two years instead of one year as their counterparts from Nigerian schools!

    • Bakare Abass

      Have you ever seen the picture of Jesus’s mum without Hijab, I don’t know the part of the brain you normally used to think. Sorry to say

      • Bassey Frank

        As a basterd, did you see Mohammed’s mother attend Law school in hijab? Did the 62-year-old woman and the 9-year-old “wife” he married ever displayed their skimps?

        • Bakare Abass

          I can see that you are far away from the topic. I don’t argue with those people that are suffering from schizophrenia and hemispherectomy

          • Bassey Frank

            Grammar. Who are you pretending to impress? How many Almajari masters can read and understand this? You left the topic and dabbled into occult reasoning.

        • Ahmadu W. Atakpo

          Religious people which day una go know something

        • Kawata Abdulmumin

          I see hypocracy in your choice of words..do not mislead people here,think possitively

          • Bassey Frank

            Do not read my posts in isolation; always link them to the comments they respond to. Think logically.

      • Ahmadu W. Atakpo

        Did Jesus mum study law? If you want to be religious person, there are some other courses you can study, a trained liar claiming to be religious. I know the part of the brain you use to think with

        • Barr. Fred

          For me I am indifferent about it, but then law as a profession should not be subjected to one’s religious believe. So let’s stop looking at the issue with a sentimental eye view but let’s ask ourselves… What is wrong with hijab if t answer is that.. It creates religious difference as those who are Muslims will want t often be with Muslims and Christians vice versa… Then it is fair enough, I don’t think ceremony that will not last up to 24 hours, and someone is asked to remove her hijab is a big deal, I have reverend sisters who removed their robe why will hijab course a problem

  • Bassey Frank

    Council of Legal Education must resist this wind of religious idiocy emanating from a people who have not contributed anything to modern civilization, except injecting acidic fanaticism and gruesome brutality. They should go to Sudan or Saudi Arabia and stiudy/practise their own law. What is all the nonsense?

  • Sir SLI

    The whole issue of HIJAB is at best an attempt by religious bigots to drag the noble and exalted legal profession into the abyss of religious fanaticism …!!!
    Anyone aspiring to be part of the legal profession MUST leave the baggage of religious extremism behind and comply with laid down rules and regulations …
    The Hijab and the Cross have never been part of our dressing .IT MAY INTEREST UNIFORMED AND SPONSORED WRITERS TO KNOW THAT SOME OTHERS WHO WORE LONG NAILS,ATTACHMENTS AND EXTREME BANGLES AND MAKE US WERE TREATED THE SAME WAY AS THIS HIJAB-WEARING EXTREMIST ON BOTH DAYS OF THE CALL TO THE NIGERIAN BAR..
    So PLEASE let’s stop this infantile religious posturings and join hands to further lift our profession higher by enforcing professional ethics…

    • Kawata Abdulmumin

      What have long nails and extreme bangles got to do with wearing hijabs? They are incomparable ,let’s call a spade a spade and stop depriving people of their civic rights..

      • Snatch

        Why don’t you ask an Ifa adherent why she must wear white beaded bangles on her hands and feet!

        You seem to forget that Jewish men wear scull caps, Catholic priests and Nuns have their mandatory cassok and head covering and gowns; many of them have been called to the bar without all these Muric (Nigerian Muslims) drama! Even among the last set from which this fartuos rebel is part of is a reverend sister, a Catholic Nun, she complied with the rules your dissident sisters hold in revulsion! Why don’t you go and make them ustaz since its their fundamental rights to aspire to any profession without adhering to the traditions!

        Nonsence and ingredients!

        • Balky omo

          Wearing hijab cannot be compare to wearing beads or some Nun cover. To be a nun is not mandatory in Christianity.U can only be one when u are willing. And williness means abiding by d rules. However, being a nun cannot be compared to being a lawyer. Nun Is religious while lawyer is professious. So please Mr. Professional, every religion has the right to all profession.. Think deeply.!!!

    • Abdulahi Razaq

      Note, hijab is not a decoration but part of Muslims ladies. The law must be amended to favour all not a west designed religion. Everybody ‘s right must be protected.

  • Ahmadu W. Atakpo

    Either it is a religion or tribalism. When are we going grow.

  • Kawata Abdulmumin

    Dearest brothers ,I see no reason why you should continue wasting your precious time to argue with these brats over a clear written handwriting ..they have chosen to follow follow the primitive way of dressing they call western civilization just because they have these louzy feelings..can’t u follow ur own modesty?was dis how people of Abraham,moses,jesus the list is endless dressed..u should have made d films of jesus ,moses etc. More civilized by dressing in coats and wearing panties to make it more attractive ..I AM OUT OF HERE JOOR!