Muslim Group Protests as House C’ttee Halts Hearing on Hijab Controversy

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James Emejo in Abuja

A rights group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), wednesday protested a decision by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Justice and Judiciary, chaired by Hon. Razak Atunwa (APC, Kwara) not to proceed with a public hearing on the need to wade into the hijab controversy between the Nigerian Law School and a law graduate, Amasa Firdusa because of an interlocutory injunction secured from a Federal High Court by the Body of Benchers which is against the intervention by the parliament.

The Nigerian Law School had also written to notify the committee that a panel had been constituted by the body to review the case within two months.

But Atunwa, who expressed worry that Justice A. Chikere had granted the interim injunction to stay action on the hearing organised at the instance of a House resolution, nonetheless, stressed the need to respect the court ruling as a responsible legislature.

Also, a member of the committee, Hon. Bode Ayorinde, a lawyer himself, quoting relevant laws, said a court doesn’t have powers to interfere with debates in parliament, adding that discussions and debates in parliament can’t be questioned.

Atunwa, however, appealed to the Muslim group which had mobilised resources towards the hearing to exercise patience as a new date would be communicated after the judge must have vacated the injunction.
But as the chairman was announcing the adjournment, the President of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, angrily stood up and insisted the hearing must continue in spite of the court order.

He said an earlier invitation had been extended to the group for the hearing which was slated for February 6 but which was also cancelled.
He said: “Then, wednesday we got another invite for today and we massively mobilised and came today and they said postponed.”

He described the development frustrating, nauseating and a travesty of justice, rape and subversion of justice.
He said the ban on the use of hijab by the law school was unlawful, especially where the constitution grants religious freedom.

He said the ensuing development was an “invitation to religious war” adding that “If you ban one Muslim, you ban all Nigerian Muslims.”

The renowned Muslim cleric said the next move for the group is to jettison further invitation for public hearing on the matter.

He said the committee should review the memoranda already submitted to it by stakeholders and take a position without any further hearing.
He insisted Firdusa must be called to bar at all cost.