Some unidentified soldiers on Friday forcefully removed the veil, popularly referred to as Niqab, from a Muslim woman at Meran Area of Lagos.
It was gathered the woman was going peacefully when two soldiers stopped and began to allegedly harass her.
According to an eyewitness, identified as Adetutu, it took the intervention of passersby and sympathisers for the Muslim woman to get her veil back.
Apart from the removal veil on Friday, two images had earlier been sighted separately at Ibadan.
One of the images seen and allegedly signed by ‘Federal Government’ at University College Hospital, Ibadan read,”Wearing of long hijab is prohibited in government establishment for security reasons”.
It will be recalled that this is happening few weeks to the comment that Federal Government may ban Hijab by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari while commenting on the continued blasts in the North-East during his maiden media chat last Wednesday said, “We will have to consider banning of the Hijab if this (the suicide attacks) continues.”
But on Friday (January 1), the President through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a press release denied insinuations that his administration had plans to ban Hijab.
While describing Hijab as the Muslim women’s dressing symbol of modesty, Buhari’s spokesperson added, “Everything will be done to balance national security requirements with the rights and obligations of citizens under their religions as protected by the constitution.”
The eyewitness, who described the the removal of the Hijab as an embarrassing sight and injustice, urged the Federal Government to make an official pronouncement stating that the hijab has not been banned to avert further chaos.
While narrating how the Hijab was removed, Adetutu said, “I arrived at the Meiran Bus Station to board a bus when I saw three armed military men stop a Muslim woman who was putting on ta black attire and a face veil. One of them confronted her asking why she used the face veil.
“The woman was surprised and helpless. Almost immediately he (one of the soldiers) turned up her face veil to reveal her face.
“The woman who felt ashamed only looked and could do nothing because the soldiers were heavily armed.
“After one of the soldiers revealed her face, another soldier forcefully removed the veil from her saying ‘This thing is not allowed in our country. You can use it in your house but not here’.
“He (the soldier) took the veil and was about leaving with it. All the woman could do was to plead with him to at least release the veil to her.
“After harassing her in such a way that called attention of passersby, he (the soldier) returned the veil to her and she quietly left almost shedding tears.”
Reacting to the pasting of a message to prohibit Hijab at UCH Ibadan, Amir of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, UCH branch, Adam Hamzah said, “This is yet another reflection of open hatred of Islam. However, i want to urge our sisters to entertain no fear in showcasing the beauty of Islam through their Hijab. After all, they realised the essence of their existence unlike those who walk about in nudity.
“It is therefore imperative not to allow this issue derail us from the golden path. I am glad to inform you that MSSN at the branch,state,zonal and national levels is currently working assiduously to put a stop to this oppression.
“Several notable Muslim personalities have been duly informed about the issue.This is with a view to ensuring that our SON sisters enjoy not only using Hijab in the hostel but also on the wards. I therefore charge us to join hands in making this a reality.”
On her part, the Amirah of MSSN Lagos, Hajia Hafsoh Badru lamented many people have started harrasing female Muslims on Hijab.
She added, “It is regrettable that such statement was made at a period when Muslim sisters are facing tough times in practising their religion. We are sure that the Presidency is not unaware of the continuous denial of Muslim students to use Hijab as guaranteed by the Nigeria constitution and United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
“We hope that the earlier statement by the President won’t serve as a means for some bad eggs in governance to punish and harass females in Hijab or label them wrongly. We sincerely appeal to the president to mandate the Ministry of Information and other necessary agencies to release a circular that will guarantee female Muslims right to wear Hijab on the street, in schools and during their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).”