A coalition of Muslim organizations, on Wednesday, held a protest rally at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, over the decision of House of Representatives Committee on Justice and Judiciary to cancel a public hearing on the hijab controversy between the Nigerian Law School and Miss Amasa Firdus (a Nigerian Law School graduate) slated to hold.
The cancellation of the public hearing was informed by a court injunction directing the committee to stay action. Miss Firdus came to limelight last year, following the decision of the Body of Benchers to shut her out of the call-to-Bar ceremony of the Law School over her refusal to remove her hijab, the Muslim women headgear.
The public hearing, which was scheduled to hold on Wednesday at Room 236 of the House of Representatives Wing, could not proceed, following an announcement by the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Rasak Atunwa, that the Committee had received an interlocutory injunction from a High Court restraining it from proceeding with the hearing.
An incensed Professor Ishaq Akintola, scholar and Director of the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) insisted that the committee must continue. He claimed that those who obtained the injunction will truncate the hearing if the committee fixes another date.
"We reject this and we are saying that the injunction is a travesty of justice. We have come here in peace. These people do not want freedom of expression and they don’t want freedom of speech," said Professor Akintola.
He alleged that the injunction secured was dodgy, branding it a “Kangaroo injunction, and frowned at the decision of the Committee to obey it.
"If the constitution and government fail to protect us, then we will liberate ourselves using every constitutional mechanism that will not cause violence and crisis. Amasa Firdus has challenged the status quo and she is the heroine of today,” he said.
He said the hearing was prevented from holding by those who do not want justice to be upheld and asked the Committee to study the 87 memoranda it has received and take a decision based on the submission of the stakeholders.
"Nigerian Muslims are saying: ‘You kill one hijab, you have killed all hijab. You bar one Muslim sister, you bar all Muslims. So, this issue is not for Amasa Firdus alone. It is between the Nigerian Law School and all Nigerian Muslims," raged the cleric.