Inibehe Effiong

Inibehe Effiong has accused the NBA president, A.B Mahmoud of acting cold to the plights of lawyers and yet being too hyperactive about the controversial issue of Hijab. In his statement the recent actions of the NBA leader has resulted to losing his credibility in the Bar.

According to Inibehe “ The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has brought utter shame and dishonour to the Noble legal profession and his prestigious office by his impulsive reaction to the arrogant behaviour of a bigoted female aspirant to the Bar who flouted the Rule by wearing hijab to the Call to Bar ceremony.

This is an NBA President whose voice has not been heard on critical national issues; an NBA President that has not been able to react swiftly and efficiently to reported cases of harassment of Nigerian lawyers by the Nigeria Police; an NBA President that is yet to publicly respond to the expulsion of Kayode Bello by the authorities of the Nigerian Law School (NLS) on account of protest against the school over sundry issues.

A. B. Mahmoud SAN is just another example that we are in trouble in this country. He conveniently cited the admission of his daughter into the New York Bar with her hijab on but was not sincere enough to inform his audience that there is a wall of difference between the American Legal System and the Nigerian Legal System in all material respects.

First, America is a Civil Law Jurisdiction with an inquisitorial system while Nigeria is a Common law Jurisdiction with an adversarial system of justice.

Second, wigs and gowns are not part of the American system. Lawyers over there do not wear wigs and gowns like we do here, in Nigeria. Therefore, the issue of his daughter wearing hijab does not arise. It is Non Sequitur.

Third, the United States of America has a totally different mode of admission into their Bar. The American system is decentralised. That is, each State has its own Bar with differing criteria and procedure for admission. The NBA President stated that his daughter was admitted into the New York Bar, not American Bar per se. In the State of New York, Call to Bar is done in a simplistic manner devoid of drama and officialdom. It is a very ‘stressless’ exercise with no stric official dress code.

The opposite is the case in Nigeria. Here, we have a centralised system of admission into the Bar. None of the 36 States in Nigeria have a Bar of its own. We only have one Nigerian Bar. We do not even have a Northern nor Southern Bar here. We do not have a Muslim nor Christian Bar. We have only one secular Nigerian Bar. Our Call to Bar ceremony is more or less a spiritual, ritualistic, official and corporate exercise with a very strict dress code. Here, you cannot just wear any suit that looks like black. It must be black and not just black but solemn black.

Hijab is not ordinarily permissible during our call to Bar. If you must wear one, ALL YOUR FACIAL FEATURES MUST BE EXPOSED FOR SIGHTING.The deviant lady in question from photos circulated on the internet had her ears covered. Even if the court were to rule that female aspirants to the Bar have the right to wear hijab, this lady will still fail because the manner in which she wore her’s was offensive and unlawful. No right is absolute. Period.

Fourth, the NBA President should be bold enough to tell us the actual motivation for his sudden, eccentric and rather divisive activism. If he wants to reform the dress code for the Call to Bar and the Bar generally, let him come out plain and say so rather than stocking religious tension in the Nigerian Bar with his untenable utterances. He promised us a Brave New Bar. Today, we can all see that there is neither brevity nor newness in the A. B. Mahmoud-led NBA. If he wants the legal profession to abolish wig and gown, he should say so unambiguously.

I believe that the NBA President has lost credibility to lead the Bar with his annoying, polarizing and misconceived tweets in favour of the hijab wearing aspirant to the Bar. Nobody, no lawyer, will be intimidated by the personal opinion of the NBA President. I do not know when the National Executive Committee of the NBA sat to take a position on this matter.

Lastly, if Mr. Mahmoud SAN wanted us to know that he has a daughter who studied abroad, well, we have heard him. We are not surprised. He is one of the elites who do not have faith in our educational system.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. What kind of lawyer will blame a victim by calling her a bigot only because she tries to practise her religion. You have a misconception of the law. The constitution of Nigeria is the ground norm. Any law of the council of legal education that is inconsistent with the constitution is void.

    HIJAB AND THE LAW

    Yes, it is agreed that Nigeria is a secular state. But to my understanding of secularism; you can practice your own, in as long as I am free to practice my own. But why are people misinterpreting the understanding of secularism just to serve their hatred for anything ‘Islamic’? If one can be denied right to practice his/religion, then the definition of secularism is violated and the meaning is defeated.

    The moment you start to feel shy to speak for Islam, or you feel you are too educated to stand for Islam, or you feel your friends will look at you as an extremist, or you feel you can practice part of the doctrines of Islam that pleases you and dump some, or you feel social media will desert you from ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ you always aspire for – that is when you need to check yourself with the psychiatrist. If you can’t do justice to yourself and express your believe, then I don’t expect you to do justice to others that doesn’t practice what you believe or even be pleased with their choice. You are just being hypocritical!

    When that lady that was appointed CBN Deputy Governor with exposed hair as a Muslim, there was social media spark. But yet, some people said it was her right to dress as she wish despite being Muslim. Does the right of Firdaus, a lady who covered her hair in accordance with her religious obligations seize to exist. People shouldn’t be expressing their double standard if their memory is limited.

    If I were at that occasion as a celebrant, I will surely walk the event out to protest with her. Justice should start from the point of administering the oath to preserve justice. Firdaus shouldn’t fight alone, NSCIA, JNI, JIBWIS, MURIC and other Islamic organizations should come out to fight for her right and initiate a debate to eliminate the fear of Hijab in Nigeria.

    The Buhari they alleged will Islamize Nigeria is doing more harm than good to Islam/North by allowing anything anti-islam or anti-north to prosper under his watch. Remember; the Numan massacre of Fulani didn’t get the attention of the FG until there was reprisals; the Sabo, Osun massacre of Hausa/Muslims culprits are free; SEC and NHIS bosses were thrown out of office on fishy and questionable allegations, till date – he remain mute.

    We don’t expect PMB to stand and defend Islam/North. No, Nigeria is a secular state. But he should be proactive to defend the interest of all, regardless of the religion, region or tribe. No one should be bullied or intimidated by practicing his faith, and all religions should be respected in all manners.

    But, why is the Law School not obeying the following JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS?

    In the case of Abidemi Rasaq & 3O years Vs Commissioner for Health Lagos State & 2 others, Suit No. ID/424M/2004. The Lagos High Court declared unconstitutional a circular issued by Lagos School of Health Technology banning the students from wearing Hijab.

    In the case of Provost Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin vs Basirat Saliu Suit No. CA/IL/49/2009 . The Court of Appeal, Ilorin Judicial Division held thus:
    “The use of veil (Hijab) by female Muslims qualifies as a fundamental right under section 38 of the Constitution.”

    COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT
    Lagos State Vs Miss Ashiat Abdkareem CA/L/135/15. In his lead judgment, Justice Gumel held that the use of the Hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing the Hijab in public schools.

    SECTION 8 SUB SECTION 1 OF THE NIGERIA’S SUPREME CONSTITUTION SAYS:

    38.(1) “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance”.

    Is the Law school then abiding by the Law?.

  2. You clearly do not have a grasp of the issues:
    This is very wrong!
    It is grandstanding to me.
    This is the same nonsense these type of people and their thinking attempt to foist on other Societies in foreign Countries!!
    If you come to me hungry and I allow you to sup at my table but on certain conditions, why should you attempt to change those conditions for your own selfish benefit??!
    Go and eat somewhere else!
    On a professional platform I said this:
    I am saying that it has never been a ‘constitutional’ issue as to what you may choose to wear! All this heavy weather over a hijab ? is just politricks! If I run a school and you’re not allowed to cover your hair because we inspect the pupils/students for personal hygiene purposes and discipline- you cannot dictate to my school how to dress ? so if you want to use ‘religion’ you and your ‘religion’ stay clear of my school! End of

    Further –

    You can not dictate to a school and attempt to modify its uniform – just to pander to some religious permutation! That is putting the horse before the cart and is entirely counter productive!
    In retro if my child is going to a school where the hijab is part of the uniform my child will wear one! Should I then say my my child will no longer wear one because she goes to angelic halo church ⛪?? And her hair must be free as her ‘halo’ cannot be covered by some ‘unwieldy’ hijab??
    It actually affects character discipline and national integration- we are just doing things ‘upandan’ myopically and with no sense of nationhood and its development- fighting for a foreign religion – which we still barely understand!!
    Otherwise commonsense dictates that love should be the governing standard of all human interaction and should be the basis of any spiritual movement – but what do we get??‍♂️

  3. This is very wrong!
    It is grandstanding to me.
    This is the same nonsense these type of people and their thinking attempt to foist on other Societies in foreign Countries!!
    If you come to me hungry and I allow you to sup at my table but on certain conditions, why should you attempt to change those conditions for your own selfish benefit??!
    Go and eat somewhere else!
    On another platform I said this:
    I am saying that it has never been a ‘constitutional’ issue as to what you may choose to wear! All this heavy weather over a hijab ? is just politricks! If I run a school and you’re not allowed to cover your hair because we inspect the pupils/students for personal hygiene purposes and discipline- you cannot dictate to my school how to dress ? so if you want to use ‘religion’ you and your ‘religion’ stay clear of my school! End of

    Further –

    You can not dictate to a school and attempt to modify its uniform – just to pander to some religious permutation! That is putting the horse before the cart and is entirely counter productive!
    In retro if my child is going to a school where the hijab is part of the uniform my child will wear one! Should I then say my my child will no longer wear one because she goes to angelic halo church ⛪?? And her hair must be free as her ‘halo’ cannot be covered by some ‘unwieldy’ hijab??
    It actually affects character discipline and national integration- we are just doing things ‘upandan’ myopically and with no sense of nationhood and its development- fighting for a foreign religion – which we still barely understand!!
    Otherwise commonsense dictates that love should be the governing standard of all human interaction and should be the basis of any spiritual movement – but what do we get??‍♂️

  4. Can something be made clear here. The common law jurisdiction which we practise in Nigeria is a product of our colonial masters the great Britain. In the UK there large population of Moslem men and women who had been called to the English Bar and throughout the tradition of call to bar, it hasis never been recorded that a moslem women wear bukka or Hijiab to the call. Inasmuch as the issue of religion is enshrined in our Constitution it does not cloud the fact that other rules and regulations should not be obeyed. The call to bar should be accorded the respect of specified attire suggested by the body that supervises or governs it. In allowing hijiab in call to bar that undoubtedly opens floodgates of other religious grouping to attend call to bar in their own regalia. The Christians with collar tie, white garment churches barefooted, heathens with beards etc. Let us de-colonise our mind over religion. The war in the world today is religion.

  5. Wearing of hijab is an injunction of religion which is rooted from an inalienable right recognized in all civilization ubiquitously.
    Neither custom no norm should be a yardstick to invade such right. There is an exigency for us to consider potential danger areas to arrest any uproar for the free flaw of conviction, thoughts conscience and religion.
    Article 5(d) (vii) of Eliminating of all forms of racial discrimination entrenches the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
    Beijing declaration :fourth world conference on women intensify the protection and and promotion of the rights of a women and girls under Article 31. The same provision envisages in Article 18 of African charter of human and people’s rights which reads as thus.,
    “freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms.This proviso has proscribed the any to subject any measure that will hinder the exercise of freedom of religion and indeed the archaic customs and norms of removing the scalf or cap is an outright invasion to their fundamental human right which is inalienable justiceable and guaranteable in all civilization and a breach of such requires a legal redress as deciphered under the provision of section 46 of constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
    Further more, people need conscientisation concerning their conviction there is a always a clear distinction between the adherence to devine ordinance pragmatically and the legality of devine act dogmatically because disobedience of a devine ordinance by some of adherent of particular religion can never outlaw the devine ordinance but the practicability varies because of individual differences and environmental factors that affect the nurturing of an individual visa viz his/her religion.
    The next rhetorical question should be the supremacy of the Constitution as a grund norm and and call to bar norms or any norm and tradition of legal profession which one takes precedence?
    A cursory look at the provision of section 1(1)which provides”
    The provision is supreme and it’s provisions Shall have binding force on all persons and authority under the federal Republic of Nigeria like wise the provision of section of 1(3)provides ”
    If any other law that is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution this constitution shall prevail and other law shall to the extent of inconsistency be void.
    All above wordings premised’ shall ‘which which are mandatory under legal parlance and another emphasis added due to its recapitulation. Thus, people should not be swarved away for Islamophobia or being tagged as extremist it is neither extremism nor laxity but a moderate approach of fighting for one’s fundamental human rights which is being or has been or likely to be infringed for norm that is meandering under the shores of darkness and fail to comply with the trends of civilization globally.

  6. Comment:Wearing of hijab is an injunction of religion which is rooted from an inalienable right recognized in all civilization ubiquitously.
    Neither custom no norm should be a yardstick to invade such right. There is an exigency for us to consider potential danger areas to arrest any uproar for the free flaw of conviction, thoughts conscience and religion.
    Article 5(d) (vii) of Eliminating of all forms of racial discrimination entrenches the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
    Beijing declaration :fourth world conference on women intensify the protection and and promotion of the rights of a women and girls under Article 31. The same provision envisages in Article 18 of African charter of human and people’s rights which reads as thus.,
    “freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms.This proviso has proscribed the any to subject any measure that will hinder the exercise of freedom of religion and indeed the archaic customs and norms of removing the scalf or cap is an outright invasion to their fundamental human right which is inalienable justiceable and guaranteable in all civilization and a breach of such requires a legal redress as deciphered under the provision of section 46 of constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
    Further more, people need conscientisation concerning their conviction there is a always a clear distinction between the adherence to devine ordinance pragmatically and the legality of devine act dogmatically because disobedience of a devine ordinance by some of adherent of particular religion can never outlaw the devine ordinance but the practicability varies because of individual differences and environmental factors that affect the nurturing of an individual visa viz his/her religion.
    The next rhetorical question should be the supremacy of the Constitution as a grund norm and and call to bar norms or any norm and tradition of legal profession which one takes precedence?
    A cursory look at the provision of section 1(1)which provides”
    The provision is supreme and it’s provisions Shall have binding force on all persons and authority under the federal Republic of Nigeria like wise the provision of section of 1(3)provides ”
    If any other law that is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution this constitution shall prevail and other law shall to the extent of inconsistency be void.
    All above wordings premised’ shall ‘which which are mandatory under legal parlance and another emphasis added due to its recapitulation. Thus, people should not be swarved away for Islamophobia or being tagged as extremist it is neither extremism nor laxity but a moderate approach of fighting for one’s fundamental human rights which is being or has been or likely to be infringed for norm that is meandering under the shores of darkness and fail to comply with the trends of civilization globally.

  7. Plainly put the NBA president is suffering from religious nativity and should not allow himself to deviate from the norm. We should not allow rainbow colour in our call to bar.

  8. Anybody that says no to hijab is a sex predator and womaniser. Common law or civil law has nothing to do with your outfit. The American lawyers use to wear the wigs when they were under British rule and now they don’t , She has the right to look modesty and protect her womanity. Go hug transformer

    • ……..no to hijab is a sex predator and womaniser…?this idea I find strange.its not like the girls who wear hijabs are religiously righteous, single and virgins or don’t f**k around.The truth is you guys make issues over nothing.

  9. All these one na so so grammar una dey speak. It is this same religion that says don’t kill, cheat, tell lies, fornicate, rob, steal, defraud, hate, pretend, deceive people, bear grudges, engage in rituals, cultism and commit adultery. Yet Nigeria is pervaded by bunch of godless people. Religion in this part of the world only functions as a tool for bigotry and selfish motives. It is a shame

  10. The comments of NBA president is unbecoming of a legal practitioner who took an oath to defend the profession. This man. Should be impeached or ask to resign. I have NEVER heard him speaking about the economic situation / political situation / judicial matters. He Hass be mute all the while but his religion is more important to him than the legal profession which he is ridiculing. How can you compare NY law school to Nigeria? Even a layman knows that America judicial system is different from English law system which Nigeria adopted. MAMOOD MUST GOOOOO !

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