The leadership of the National Assembly have been urged to institute laws that will guarantee the protection of women and girls in the country.
Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, (FOMWAN) in a statement jointly signed by its National Amirah, Hajiya Halima Jibril and National Public Relations Officer, Dr. Sumaye Hamza, particularly urged the federal legislature to support and facilitate compliance to the constitutional provision on freedom of religious worship all over the country.
The statement issued to mark the World Hijab Day last weekend under the theme “Unity in Diversity”, lamented that “Muslim women and girls in Nigeria have consistently denied their right to wear the hijab in accordance with their religious teachings.”
“The persistent ban on the use of the hijab by female students in some secondary schools especially in South-West Nigeria, during secondary school examinations and in in some workplaces in Nigeria is not only a flagrant abuse of the rights of female Muslims to freedom of worship, it also has far-reaching implications for national development in Nigeria.
“It negates the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goal number five (SDG 5). Sustainable Development Goal no. 5 which seeks “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” it stressed.
FOMWAN explained that while the SDG 5 expects “to end discrimination against women and girls everywhere, it is rather unfortunate that the denial of the use of hijab by women and girls in some quarters in Nigeria has only aggravated discrimination against Muslim women and girls in Nigeria.”
It added that “innocent school girls and qualified women in some work places have been intimidated, derided and subjected to psychological trauma just because they wear the hijab in compliance with their religious teachings.”
“The current discrimination against the female Muslim population in Nigeria has shut the gates for many girls to education, and deprived Muslim women from opportunities to advance their careers and explore opportunities outside their homes.
“It has also sidelined Muslim women from participation in national development, thus countering inclusiveness,” FOMWAN further alleged.
The association informed that the essence of World Hijab Day is to make even the non-Muslim women to experience the Hijab, adding that it is expected to promote understanding, solidarity and acceptance among the Muslim and non-Muslim women globally.
To promote unity in diversity, FOMWAN called on all interfaith platforms in the country to interface on the issue of the hijab and come together to quell the rising controversy.
It commended the Body of Benchers and the management of the Nigerian Law School for the opportunity for Muslim girls to graduate in their hijabs which has further encourage more girls to take to the law profession.
It therefore urged the Armed Forces and other professional bodies to provide a level playing ground for all to join the professions irrespective of religion or tribe.
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