By ‘Kola Akintibubo
The harassment and victimization levelled on Muslim students on our campuses in this contemporary Nigeria has become a thing of utmost concern.
Muslims not only students are being harassed and made subjected to series of public opprobrium in high places and tertiary institutions in particular. This has caused provocations in many quarters.
Islam as we all know is a religion that preaches and ensures peaceful co-existence, it also deploys every peaceful means to drive home its goals.
Having realized this fact, some believers of other faiths seem to be taking this for granted. They advertently step on our toes even without remorse via incessant provocations on our path.
The gravity of this disparage is so intensed and unabated so much so that we cannot remain silent or be complacent with any longer.
For instance, at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in
Ogun State, there is a complete ban on the use of NIQOB (facial veil used by Muslim Sisters). This ugly development does not go down well with the University Community including the Muslim Society of Nigeria (MSSN), FUNAAB Chapter.
How do we describe the incessant denial of students of lectures they had paid for or disavowal of students’ request to access the school auditorium or distrupting MSSN’s usage of Mosque for an annual Islamic programme on the basis of the use of Niqob? This is purely religious bigotry.
The resolution of the Senate since 2017 has been that the use of Niqob is an “indecent dressing” within the school premises which it regarded as being prohibited even despite court’s ruling on the matter. Moreover, FUNAAB Senate remains adamant and incalcetrant to humble appeals from leaders of the University’s Muslim Community; ignores outcry from various Muslim groups and individuals.
We see this as an infringement on the fundamental human right of freedom of religion. The school is duty-bound to respect and protect the rights of all students regardless of creed, colour and religions. This is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the FRN as amended. Any quarters where this thrives shall witness chaos rather than peace, disparage rather than love, bigotry rather than tolerance and impunity rather than lawfulness.
The Senate had argued that it needs facial identification of each student and also the security situation of the school informed its decision to ban the use of Niqob but failed in all aspects to attribute or cite an instance of security breach as a result of Niqob usage. Understandably, it is a mere decoy-a way of giving dog a bad name so as to hang it.
However, FUNNAB cannot be an exception for the use of Niqob is an accepted universal phenomenon. Both private and public tertiary institutions have adopted it especially UNILA, OAU, UNILORIN, LAUTECH etc. What makes FUNAAB different?
We like to call on the school management and other places where this disheartening trend is being practised to desist from their awful disregard, contemptuous and malicious outlaw for the provisions of the extant law of the country.
We hereby call on President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to wave in the matter before it gets out of hands. If FUNAAB MSSN and the University’s Muslim Community look back in anger against this unwarranted provocation, it would not be in the good interest of the school. The untold discrimination is increasing the tempo of our exasperation, it has exhausted our patience yet we remain law-abiding citizens as our religion teaches.
Prince ‘Rosheed ‘Kola Akintibubo
MUPAF, Ife Central Chapter Co-ordinator
writes from Ile-Ife,
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