Nigerians react to the law school graduate not called to bar for wearing hijab


Recently, a graduate of the Nigerian Law School from the University of Ilorin named Amasa Firdaus was not called to the Nigerian bar by the Body of Benchers on the 12th day of December, 2017 being the day of her call. Nigerians react with mixed feelings to the incident.

Reports confirmed that a post on an Instagram page of Amasa Firdaus who is a Muslim refused to remove her Hijab before entering the International Conference Centre where the call to Bar ceremony is usually held. She insisted that her hijab much be on her head as she wears the law wig which was drastically objected.

It was also confirmed that before the ceremonies were to begin, all Muslims were respectfully asked to remove their hijabs prior to entering the hall. This request was complied with by all the Muslims present except Amasa Firdaus who vehemently refused to remove hers.

In reaction to this, a body of lawyers association claimed that the refusal of the body of benchers to call her to the Nigerian Bar is a violation of her right to freedom of religion protected by Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigerian as amended. Some also said that the law didn’t state that hijabs should be removed in the constition.

At present, Amasa’s case has raised a lot of concerns from law enforcement bodies and human right organisations. Speaking with Barrister Oladimeji, he explained that the young lady should be allowed to exercise her right to religion. He further stated that her act not to remove her hijab should have nothing to do with the constitution:
“personally, I do not see anything wrong with the young lady wanting to put on her hijab for law practise. I am a Christian and this wouldn’t make me condemn others. So, the law should allow her exercise her right to religion as every citizen is expected to.”

In addition, Barrister Chiamaka Ufot reacted to the issue saying that Amasa should further press charges on the case as there are many countries of the world who allow their citizens to practise law with their religion’s garments:
“I see no reason why this is a case. There are many countries that allow such. The law is not expected to deprive the citizens of their legal rights.”

The President of Nigerian Bar Association A.B. Mahmoud vowed that the association would look into the situation:

“UK based Nigerian lawyer recognized for promoting diversity in the legal profession,” Mahmoud tweeted, posting a photo of Olufunke Abimbola, who was recently recognised by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to promoting diversity in the legal profession. The NBA will embrace diversity and tolerance in the Nigerian legal profession,” Mahmoud continued, adding that “the Hijab issue will be addressed.”

This case is seriously being looked into as many law firms urge the Nigerian legal profession to be fair in their judgement and also increase the pace of its religious tolerance which is one of the keys to every country’s growth and development.

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