Firdaus Amasa, a graduate of the University of Ilorin, was denied access to the call to bar ceremony after insisting on wearing hijab during the ceremony.
The Nigerian Law School graduate who was denied access to the venue earlier this week says her demand remains the need to grant approval for the use of hijab among Muslim law graduates.
The incident, which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Friday, has generated intense debate on the Internet, with Nigerians divided on her decision and that of the authorities of the law school.
A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who was one of those that opposed the graduate’s defiance, wrote on Twitter, “The girl that insisted on wearing her hijab during her call to the Nigerian bar was being childish and disingenuous.
“You cannot insist on wearing religious garb during a secular ceremony and she is not the first Muslim to be called to the Nigerian bar. Nigeria is a secular state!”
Speaking with Premium Times on Saturday, Ms. Amasa maintained that she remained resolute in her convictions to set a precedent for Hijab-wearing Muslims during the ceremony.
Ms. Amasa who was specifically refused entry into the hall for insisting to wear the wig on top of her hijab – a headscarf, told The Cable that she intentionally wore the hijab in a bid to challenge the status quo.
“I knew that was what was going to happen,” she said of the consequences of her decision. She, however, said she remained resolute in her convictions to speak for the recognition of rights of female Muslim law graduates.
“My major concern is the approval of Hijab so that every person coming behind me will be able to use it for the call to bar ceremony,” she told Premium Times.
When asked whether she was aware of rules and regulations that guide against the use of Hijab at the ceremony, she said there was none, stressing that it was merely based on conventions.
“There is nothing like that (laws preventing the use of Hijab),
“When you ask them too, they tell you it is convention; that that is how it is done and it has to remain like that.”
Asked what motivated her to take the decision, she explained that she wanted to change the narrative and give Muslim sisters the rights to express their constitutional rights as enshrined in the constitution.
The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria said it would write the presidency over Firdaus’ inability to attend the call to bar ceremony.
The national leader of the MSSN, Jameel Muhammad, described the restriction on the use of hijab as “Islamophobia.”
He said if the issue was not resolved by the presidency and national assembly, the society would resort to legal action.
“Then we might have to approach the court of the law. Already our lawyers have taken her brief,” he said.
However, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, AB Mahmoud, said the controversy surrounding Firdaus’ use of hijab was needless. Mahmoud posted a picture of his daughter in hijab on the day she was called to the New York bar.
He said the issue would be addressed.
Source Punch and Premium times