Section (38) sub-section (2), states that, no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony or observance as it relates to a religion other than his own or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.
However, we aren’t in an Islamic state and so nobody should be compelled to wear hijab, which even in the Islamic societies, it is not everyone that wears hijab, that is to say hijab is optional in the Islamic communities.
To back my point, in places like Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe one will find many women wearing headgear (gyale) to cover up their bodies and they look corporate. So, is better to leave everyone to dress according to his/her faith or belief.
Moreover, it may sound awkward compelling Christians in a dominant Islamic state to wear hijab in school. It is not every Christian faithful that wears hijab though some wear at times. It isn’t responsible depriving one’s rights is a breach of the constitution. In fact, what benefit will anyone derive from depriving one of his rights? It’s a constitutional right to wear clothes of one’s choice even if it is indecent.
Therefore, I have no reason why Christian students will be compelled to wear hijab. Even if wearing hijab is compulsory, there should be room for exception, let it be in the Muslim dominated schools not in missionary schools. This is because doing so will actually change people’s thoughts negatively.
Negative thoughts bring about disagreement between people when religion is likely to be affected. We need peace considering the nation’s current plight, because Nigeria being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society can easily be plunged into crisis if issues of such arise.
It will be better if it’s in public schools and not private missionary schools though the state government has the right to impose what will be in favour of the state, but exceptions should also be considered in some cases.
What I am trying to portray is, the hijab controversy started like a play and now it is taking over the nation and generating rumours of different kinds that are not even part of the saga; to the best of my knowledge, rumours generate conflicts between parties because it is in the rumour that some people will get the story wrong and start reacting.
Therefore, I want to draw the attention of the Kwara state government to withdraw its action of compelling students in missionary schools to wear hijab, it seriously sounds awkward and if insisted, it won’t yield a positive outcome, God forbid.
Nuhu Haruna Dogo,
Department of Mass Communication,
University of Maiduguri