The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) has rejected the illegal ban of Niqob (veil) imposed on its members by the University’s Senate, describing the action as an act of hatred towards the religion of Islam.
n a lengthy Letter addressed to the University’s VC – Prof. Felix Kolawole Salako, by the Muslim Students on Friday December 17, the Muslim Students addressed the circular sent out by the University’s Registrar on Thursday announcing that the ban of Niqob (veil) in the Federal institution stands regardless of what the Constitution of Nigeria dictates.
According to the Muslim Students, the School Administration has no right to scrap out the Freedom of Religion from the Fundamental Rights of students in the Federal Institution. The Press Statement went on to educate the University Administration on what is obtainable in the Nigeria’s Constitution.
The statement reads partly: “The Senate of the University, despite being aware of the spirit and letters of section 38(1) of the constitution which provided Freedom of Religion; to profess and practise one’s faith and belief anywhere in Nigeria, and the fact that it is an Institution of the Federal Government of Nigeria, established through taxpayers’ funds, went ahead to outlaw the provision of the extant law.
“Section 38(1) of the Nigerian Constitution states that; “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance.”
“This ban is an attempt to undermine and disregard the supremacy of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, to outlaw a fundamental norm by a domesticated rule, contrary to Section 1 of the constitution as amended, which states:
- This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in the accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
- If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.”
- The Muslim Students who forwarded the copy of the Letter to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in Abuja stated that it is shameful that the school management/Senate have been masking a “bigotry inspired” ban with security and facial identification. They challenged the University’s administration to provide from its record any security breach on grounds of Niqob Usage.“This utter disregard of the constitution and even Muslim members of the University Community in a school that is owned by the public and funded by taxpayers’ money, only proves the Senate has resorted to anarchy and calls for such. The resolution of the senate preaches violence rather than peace, bigotry rather than tolerance and encourages hatred rather than peaceful coexistence.“It is rather shameful that the school management/Senate have been masking this bigotryinspired ban with security and facial identification. We challenge the senate to provide from its record any security breach on grounds of Niqob Usage.
“Even more disappointing is the fact that the University Senate, full of rather reputable Academicians were cajoled into falling for this excuse which is only a decoy planted by, perhaps, the religious extremists who find it difficult to coexist with the Muslim sisters who are humans like them,” the Muslims Students in FUNAAB wrote to the Vice-Chancellor.
Citing more reasons why they believe the ban on Niqob in FUNAAB is not justified, the Muslim Students noted that the use of Niqob (Veil) is an obtainable practice in Public educational institutions across the globe mentioning institutions like UI, LAUTECH, FUTA, UNILAG, OAU,UNIOSUN, KWASU, UNILORIN and institutions across the US, UK.
- “If the school is being fair and honest with its stance of upholding the fundamental rights of all students, they could have devised a means that would enhance identification of sisters in veils rather than banning the Niqob, at least, people veiling their faces with facemask are identified. Yet, the school have records of all students and their identity.“The use of Niqob (Veil) is an obtainable practice in Public educational institutions across the globe; UI, LAUTECH, FUTA, UNILAG, OAU, UNIOSUN, KWASU, UNILORIN are among the unending list of schools that have and allow veiled Muslims in their respective campuses. Examples can also be found in institutions across the US, UK and other places across the globe. What makes FUNAAB different? Bigotry?” the statement reads further.The Muslim Students thereafter rejected the ban imposed on Muslims in the school stating that it is unjust and categorically targeted at attacking the Muslims in the School.
“The entire Muslim students hereby reject the circular as it unjustly and categorically targets the Muslims rights.
“We assume that the University Management is committed to maintaining peace in the University environment, and as such would not want any action by the already aggrieved Muslim Students that would interfere with the operation of the university.” the letter reads further.
The Muslims Students further vowed not to condone any attempt by members of the Public University Staff to deny Muslims access to the Federal Insititution on the basis of using Niqob (veil).“We would not condone any attempt by members of the University staff to deprive any veiled student access to any of the public-owned facilities in the school or even the school based on the use of Niqob or any religious dress.” the letter stated.
- The Letter which was addressed to the University’s Vice-Chancellor was forwarded to Minister of Education, Abuja, The Nigeria University Commission (NUC), The Chairman, Tertiary Institution and TETFund, Committee, Nigerian Senate, the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Federal House of Representative, President General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), FUNAAB Muslim Community, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Commissioner of Police (CP), Ogun State, Human Right Unit of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the MSSN National Headquarters, the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), MSSN B-Zone, MSSN Ogun State Area Unit, MSSN Egba Area Council (EAC), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), the Registrar, the Bursar, the University Librarian, the Ag. Director, ICTREC, the Dean and Directors, Heads of Departments/Units, the Head, Directorate of Public Relations, the Head, FUNAAB Radio, the Asst. Chief Environmental Officer, the Chairman, Unions – ASUU, NAAT, NASU, SSANU, the President, Student Union, All Notice Boards and All Muslim faithful.