By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, (MSSN), Oyo State Area Unit has advocated resolution of religious issues in Nigeria especially the Hijab issue by government through dialogue to ensure religious harmony and peaceful co-existence in the country.
MSSN made the call at a press conference addressed in Ibadan through its Director of Secondary Schools’ Coordination in Oyo state, Mallam Toyib Aremu on the commemoration of the 2003 sensitisation and awareness on the use of Hijab in Oyo State.
The Oyo MSSN coordinator emphasized that in doing that, there is the need for approach of blend of dialogue, understanding and compromise in resolving sensitive issues as religious matter.
He added that the time has come for government at all levels in Nigeria to fashion out possible ways of sensitizing Nigerians on Hijab as part their responsibilities of social cohesion and communal justice.
Recalling the brutality and high-handedness that followed the 2003 Hijab awareness in Oyo State, Mallam Toyyib noted that dictatorship and rough treatment of those who genuinely and lawfully demand their rights will not solve any problem, especially issues which transcends material frivolity.
He then advocated the approach of blend of dialogue, understanding and compromise in resolving sensitive issues particularly religious, saying the recent public disgrace and embarrassment with which the Muslim women in Hijab were subjected by the security operatives who are expected to uphold the law and protect the citizens stands condemned.
Quoting Sections 38 and 42 of the Nigerian constitution, he said the use of Hijab should needlessly cause controversy especially as it does not only agree with Allah’s injunction but also does not violate any law of the land.
“Hijab is not limited to the head covering which many have misconstrued to be the concept, adding that Hijab is meant to be loose and overflowing, not tight and attractive so that its purpose would not be utterly defeated if it becomes a tool for adornment and not one to veil female’s adornments. That is why we will advise bodies who go out celebrating the Hijab to do so with the prescribed type,” he said.
The MSSN coordinator while commending Oyo State Government for allowing the use of Hijab in the state-owned public secondary schools in its February 18, 2014 circular, called the attention of the government to what he termed “unwarranted cases of disobedience to the said circular”.
“During the just concluded registration of students in the state for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination, we received quite a number of reports of compulsion of female Muslim students to remove their Hijabs for the photo capture based on a claim that the system refuses passports taken with Hijab but this is all false”.