Nigerian law school graduate was denied a call to the Nigerian Bar for allegedly refusing to remove her hijab at the call ceremony on Tuesday.
The graduate of the University of Ilorin, Amasa Firdaus, is reported to have insisted on wearing the wig on her hijab despite instructions and plea from the Nigerian Body of Benchers and colleagues respectively, reports local legal news portal lawyard.ng.
She was denied entry into the hall and denied a call to the bar, the report added.
The incident was first made known by a colleague of Amasa Firdaus who used her Instagram page to fight for justice for the Muslim woman and others who want to wear hijab while they practice law.
“What has Hijab done to them? Where is our freedom of Religion as stated in the constitution? We need justice … For those that don’t know, Hijab is a MANDATORY part of my religion not just a piece of clothing, so if my freedom of religion is said to have been guaranteed in section 38 of the constitution of my country that is said to be supreme and have binding force overall as seen in section 1 of this same constitution and Section 42 of this same constitution guarantees my right to freedom from discrimination,” Instagram user savvy_ruqqy protested on Thursday.
“Please we want justice. We want our hijab. We want #JusticeForFirdaus. We want to wear our hijabs for the call to bar. We want to wear it in the courtroom. Stop the discrimination. We are Muslims, not terrorists. Hijab is Mandatory. We want Justice for Firdaus,” she added citing provisions in the Nigerian constitution that stipulate freedom of religion.
The Instagram post generated nearly 500 comments with many in support of the campaign to get Amasa Firdaus a call to the bar.
The legal profession in Nigeria and other parts of Africa is strict when it comes to its respect for centuries-old traditions adopted from the colonial invaders.
Africa has refused to let go of some adopted traditions including the mandatory wearing of the legal wig which many Western countries have stopped wearing.
Ghana’s Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo recently cautioned lawyers in the country to wear the wigs to “preserve the tradition”. Many African lawyers are against the wearing of wigs and gowns due to its discomfort in the especially humid part of the world.
It will take a legal provision to allow Muslim lawyers in Nigeria to wear the hijab in court.
This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com