*says Muslims handle Hijab issues within ambit of the law
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar on Sunday tasked Muslims in the country to always demand for their rights within the ambit of the law.
Speaking at the 4th General Assembly of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), with the theme “Muslim Unity and Contemporary Political Challenges in Nigeria”, held at the University of Ibadan on the recent Hijab crisis at the University of Ibadan International School,Sultan Abubakar stressed that female Muslim students have right under the constitution to use Hijab but that those advocating for the use of Hijab and various organisations championing the welfare of Muslims in the country should demand for their rights within the ambit of the law by always seeking redress in a peaceful manner and not to engage in open confrontations.
According to Sultan Abubakar, there is no doubt that Muslims must be law abiding, saying, “the moment we are attacking each other, then there will be no peace. So we need peace. And we have been doing our own in silence. I urged all of you to be law abiding”.
“The issue is at the Court and since it is in the Court, we can’t make further statement, so that we don’t commit contempt of the Court. Demand for your rights within the ambit of the law. I urged all of you to be patience because Almighty Allah loved the patience ones. On the issue of Hijab at the University, there are some organizations that are advocating for it, let them continue advocating, but at our own level we have been doing ours silently. In the constitution, we have freedom of religion”, he said.
Sultan Abubakar added, ” if my religion allows me to wear Hijab, nobody should stop me. So our politicians and leaders must know that. All these issues have been politicised. But, I want to assure you that people are free to do what their religion permit them to do. I want to thank the MUSWEN for inviting me here. And I want to charge MUSWEN that in 11 years what have you achieved in the area of education. Now, we have so many universities, how many of these are owned by Muslim organizations. Where are our Muslim brothers and sisters that Almighty Allah has blessed?’
Speaking on the factors responsible for chains social problems militating against the survival of Nigeria, the Sultan identified unemployment, poverty and absence of small scale industries in the rural areas as some of the major problems in Nigeria, saying, “if people are engaged, they will be enjoying. We need employment opportunities for the youth. We need to create jobs”.
“We need to establish more industries in the rural areas and villages. There are some people in the villages that need little capital. If is only our political leaders that will be thinking of mansions. Let us face our challenges as Muslims. I want you to do more. There are challenges. Do more. Our doors are opened. And don’t allow politicians to smear Islam. When we are not in unity, the politicians will be happy that we are not in unity”.
The Chairman MUSWEN Education Committee, Professor Muibi Opeloye in his paper entitled “Muslim Unity and Contemporary Political Challenges in Nigeria”, asked Muslim in the corridor of power not to mind their political differences but unite when issues of national importance are being discussed.
Professor Opeloye then recommended that “Wealth should not be the criterion for eligibility for public office. Such factors such as qualities of head and heart, education, wisdom, mental and physical heath should be the criteria. In recognition of the Nigerian constitutional provisions, Shariah courts should be introduced in the South Western Nigeria to replace the Shariah panels functioning in the various states of the zone.
“The multi-party system that recognises ninety-one political parties is unwieldy. The number has to be drastically reduced. I consider seven be manageable and it is so recommended. Muslims in the Parliament should regardless of their party affiliation always unite to support not only matters of Islamic concern, but also matters of national interest in furtherance of national development”.