A meeting of a coalition of Muslim organisations in Nigeria under the auspices of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) held at the NSCIA Secretariat, Abuja on Monday, 5th February, 2018 reviewed the issue of the Hijab controversy between the Body of Benchers/Nigerian Law School and Al-Jannah Firdausa Amasa and the last minute postponement of the public hearing by the Joint Committee on Justice and Judiciary of the House of Representatives.
In attendance were representatives of more than twenty Muslim organisations. They include NSCIA, FOMWAN, MSSN, MUSWEN, MULAN, MMPN, MURIC, MICA, Women in Da‘wah, Coalition of Muslim Women Organisations, Abuja Muslim Forum, FCT League of Imams, Association of Muslim Professionals, Justice for Fidaus Advocacy Group, Harakatul Islaami, Ilorin, Kwara Muslim Youths, The Criterion, Al-Mu’minaat, Women ‘Ulamaa’ of Zamfara, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Organisation of Tadhamunul Muslimeen, I-World-Connect Media, Pious Muslim Women Organisation and Islamic Family Foundation.
The resolutions reached at the end of the meeting are as follows:
1. The coalition is disappointed over the last minute postponement of the public hearing on Monday, 5th February, 2018 just a day to the event that was scheduled over a month earlier. The inconveniences caused by the sudden change of schedule that many stakeholders from across Nigeria have to bear are unimaginable;
2. The coalition is dismayed that the Joint Committee did not deem it fit to contact stakeholders who had submitted memoranda to the Committee prior to the public announcement of the postponement as published in the Punch newspaper of Monday, 5th February, 2018. Of particular importance is Sister Firdausa Amasa – the victim and subject of the controversy – who had earlier received an invitation letter from the Joint Committee;
3. The coalition rejects in its totality the reason advanced by the Joint Committee for the postponement. The excuse, therefore, rubbishes the deadline earlier given by the Joint Committee and proves that some stakeholders are above its rules and are, therefore, more important than others. Hence they are identified as “critical stakeholders”. We believe we are all equal stakeholders because equality before the law is one of the critical elements of the rule of law;
4. Muslims are not unaware of the efforts by some stakeholders to frustrate the cause of justice and, therefore, are determined not to rest until their right is recognised and guaranteed;
5. The Joint Committee, as representatives of the people, should, in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice, ensure that the public hearing holds as soon as possible while stakeholders are duly informed; and
6. The coalition calls on all Muslims and other stakeholders to remain calm and await further directives on the matter.