Fridausa Vs NLS: Verdicts From Some Practising Lawyers On Hijab And Call To Bar

1- Tope Atiba  (Tope Atiba)

“Honestly, I know that it is against policy for students to dress in a particular way. There’s a dress code as set by the council of legal education.
The question is that, this dress code, does it in any way limit the right of a student to practise his or her religion or to express his or her religion in any form? That is my own contention.
I think that to an extent, if the person is being dressed reasonably—I saw the picture, the hijab was tucked in and she had a wig on her hijab—I think that kind of person should be allowed. She should be called to the bar.
It is against the law school policy, it’s against the dress code and everything but Section 38 subsection 1 of the Nigerian constitution allows for every Nigerian to have the freedom to practise a religion as they please.
Now the question should be, to the extent to which the dress code in law school is at variance with Section 38 (1), shouldn’t it now give way and allow Section 38 (1) to prevail? In a situation like that, the constitution is supreme.
The code of conduct cannot supersede the provision of the constitution. The moment you say you aren’t going to swear someone in because of an insinuation of religion, or because the person is dressed in a particular way, that begins to infringe on the person’s right.

2- Ayo Sogunro 

The law should respect human rights, including the freedom of expression. Law schools that repress free expression in their own affairs cannot safeguard freedoms for the wider society. This explains why Nigeria has thousands of lawyers and yet the people lack rights.

Re hijab: the question is not ‘Did she breach the call rules of the Law School?’ It is clear she did. Whether as an exercise of her right to protest or by accident. The question is: Why should these rules continue to exist? Are legal systems without these rules worse than ours?

Those who have a knowledge of both law and legal history know that our court dress is an anachronistic colonial legacy, originating under post-feudal systems predating the human rights era. Why do we still use these rules when we are no longer slaves to English cultural history?

Because, in the end, this is a question of culture. Is the hijab less dignified than the medieval gown? Is the fila less dignified than the medieval wig? Why do we insist on obeying rigid forms of colonial culture when even the colonialists have changed their own culture?

Whatever is at variance with the constitution should give way to the constitution and allow the constitution to prevail.
It is still open for debate, but that’s my view.”

3- Jubril Gawat

At the point of being called to bar, they tell all of them to remove their scarfs and use the wig only. Even if it’s a small cap, they tell them to remove it outright. That’s where the issue lies. There’s no law against the hijab. The law does not permit its removal.

There is no written law against it. So, why are they disallowing it?

If there is no law stopping a lady from covering her hair for call to bar, why stop them? And the constitution supersedes any other law. A law school should know this.

Normally, the Supreme Court is the last option. But you allow people practise their religion all through law school and decide to stop their religious rights on call to bar day?

Other Muslims in other countries study Law and no one tells them to stop their religion for a second.

In 2013, my wife wore a cap under her wig to cover her hair on call to bar day. The woman at the entrance removed it and flung away the cap.
Let have your view also

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