By Ajibola Abayomi,
March 6, 2018.
The Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria has rejected the Abuja high court’s directive on dress code for legal practitioners in the country
The body stated that the court’s ruling negates the Constitution and the 2004 resolution of the Body of Benchers.
It however stated that it would design a hijab-compliant collaret with bib for use by Muslim female legal practitioners
The new directive given by the high court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on how lawyers should dress, has been rejected by the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN).
The body dissented with the court’s decision in a communiqué signed by its president, Dr Kamal Dawud, which was released at the end of its National Executive Committee meeting in Benin, Edo state, on Wednesday, April 4.
MULAN opined that the court had “prohibited the use of any apparel underneath wigs by lawyers and by extension, the hijab, by female Muslim lawyers.”
It described the ruling as “unfortunate, draconian, illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful,” and stated that it contravened Section 38 of the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees the right of citizens to manifest their religion.
It further stated that the ruling was “contrary to the 2004 resolution of the Body of Benchers which allows female Law School students and legal practitioners to use head cover underneath their wigs.”
The communiqué read in part: “MULAN NEC condemns the directive in the press release in the strongest term and urges the FCT High Court to reverse its decision contained in the press release forthwith.
“The use of Hijab in public institutions, in particular, has enjoyed affirmative judicial interpretation. For this reason, MULAN NEC wonders why this issue is generating this avoidable furor especially in the echelon of justice.”
However, MULAN disclosed that it had finally resolved to “design a hijab-compliant collaret with bib for use by Muslim female legal practitioners so as to conform to the tradition of the legal profession.
A group of lawyers under the umbrella of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria faulted the Nigerian Law School for refusing to allow Firdaus Amasa entrance into the venue of the call-to-bar ceremony in Abuja because she put on a hijab.
The University of Ilorin law graduate was not called to bar, after she wore an hijab, sparking controversy. But in a communiqué, the group stated that it was unlawful for the Nigerian Law School to deprive female Muslims from putting on the hijab in government-owned institutions.