The Conference of Islamic Organizations (CIO) has made a passionate plea to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to allow Muslim girls wear hijab to schools in Lagos.
The former Governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola had banned the use of hijab in all Lagos public schools, while the Muslim community has sued the state government over the issue.
Members of the CIO paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos Commissioner for Home Affairs Dr. Abdul Lateef Abdul Kareem on Tuesday in his office at the government secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Coordinator of CIO Alhaji Abdullahi Shuaib said one of the thing they demanded from Ambode before he became governor was to protect religious freedom, saying that all over the world, Muslim women were distinct because of hijab they normally wore.
He said when hijab was outlawed in Lagos school, the freedom of the female Muslims was breached, saying that it was as if government was at war with the Muslim community.
“This issue is very critical and the Lagos state government should look at it critically. Muslims have ways of life which cannot be taken away from them, which is to use hijab,” he said, adding that even in advanced countries, Muslims were not restricted from using hijab. He appealed to the commissioner to prevail on the governor to allow Muslim girls wear hijab to school.
Shuaib also called for Public Faith Participation (PFP) in the running of government by engaging Imams to help drive home government policy to the people using the pulpit, saying that the Imams were closer to the people and well placed to inform the people about the policies of government. He appealed to government to pay Imams honorarium so that they would have the feeling that they were part and parcel of government.
On the other side, Abdul Kareem called on faith-based organizations to generate employment by setting up business organizations that would create jobs while government would provide the enabling environment for them to thrive since it would be impossible for government to employ everybody.
The commissioner charged to buy into the ‘adopt a school program of the state government and take the lead in molding characters of Lagiosians. He said they could use their pulpit to teach members of the society to be law abiding and to desist from breaking traffic laws.
It should be noted that Nigeria has one of the largest Muslim populations in West Africa (near 100 million Muslims).