The Borno State chapter of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has lent its voice to the clamour for the use of hijab in the army and other uniformed security agencies like Immigrations, Customs, NDLEA and traffic formations.
A statement issued in Maiduguri by Honourable Abubakar Manu, chairman, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Borno State branch, on Tuesday, 8th March, 2022 urged the Nigerian Army and other uniformed security agencies to encourage Muslim women to join their formations by approving the use of hijab.
Honourable Manu said :
“It is no longer news that the Nigerian Police has approved the use of hijab for police women who wish to use it. It is optional, not compulsory. It is important for the Nigerian army and other security agencies as well as non-security uniformed groups to take a cue from the Nigerian police on the approval of hijab because of the various advantages inherent in such approval.
“We all recall that the police had problems recently when they advertised for recruitment. They received few applicants. Muslim women were among those who were reluctant to join the police because they feared that they would lose the freedom to use hijab if they did. But they will now be able to join without qualms with the recent approval. There is no doubt that Muslim women have avoided joining the army and other security agencies because of the dress code.
“We therefore appeal to the army and other security agencies to follow suit because even the few Muslim women in the forces experience lack of job satisfaction, loss of focus and a desertification of spiritual well-being due to their inability to use hijab on their uniform.
“They are just being human because every homo sapien compos mentis is body, soul and spirit. Army, Immigration, custom or NDLEA uniform alone is not enough to motivate them. They need the assurance of spiritual well-being which is being denied by their inability to use hijab with their uniforms.
“In a place like Borno and the rest of the North East, for example, approval of hijab by all security and uniformed agencies will greatly improve our security and dispatch the Boko Haram insurgency into oblivion. This is of particular interest to the Borno chapter of MURIC. We understand our community very well. The employment of women in hijab will enhance intelligence gathering, strengthen investigative power and widen the horizon of information supply because our women will feel free to approach female soldiers in hijab.
“This is because women in Muslim communities in Nigeria find it more convenient to relate and confide in women than in men. Having female Muslim soldiers and police who use hijab will close this gap. The phenomenon of female suicide bombers can also be more easily and effectively curtailed by female Muslim soldiers in hijab. Approval of hijab for female Muslim soldiers will therefore be a big plus for security.
“Criminologists agree that women in communities are sine qua non to the provision of information to the police at grassroot level. This is why women are known to have contributed immensely to community policing in places like Britain and Ireland because of their naturally keen interest in their communities.
“Besides, approval of hijab in all the security agencies will close the economic gap between Christian women and their Muslim counterparts. More than 90% of women in the army and other security agencies are Christians because the inability to use hijab with the uniform has kept Muslim women away from joining the forces since independence. This has automatically reduced the employability of Muslim women while it continues to empower Christian women economically. The security agencies should do something about this lop-sidedness.
“It is time to remove this socio-economic barrier in the interest of justice and fairness. The armed forces and other security agencies need to integrate Muslim women into the system because Christian women are already there in large numbers. Failure to allow hijab in any of the security agencies is seen by MURIC as exclusiveness. It symbolises gross imbalance. This should be addressed.
“The Nigerian security agencies are not supposed to be for Christians alone. But they are ostensibly so as long as hijab is not allowed for Muslim women staffers. This is a multi-religious country for crying out loud. The dress code of our security agencies must therefore reflect the diversity of our cultures.
“There is no doubt that many of the senior officers in the security agencies have attended courses in Britain, Canada, America, etc and they have seen how female Muslim police and soldiers in those countries use hijab. This should be replicated here in Nigeria in order to abide by global best practices.”