By Che Oyinatumba
Kayode Bello, a student of Nigeria Law School, fought for his right to quality education, management of Law School rusticated him. Law School went far back as digging up his political activities as a student union activist in University of Ibadan.
The ambiguous omnibus sword called Fit and Proper was bandied about and Kayode was condemned in the lynch him market square.
Few months after, a lady Amasa Firdaus, appeared at International Conference Centre, the venue of call to Bar, the same set that Kayode Bello would have made, wearing hijab. Body of Benchers deemed her not Fit and Properly dressed to be admitted to the Bar and the whole religious community is playing the ostrich, braying for blood that Amasa’s religious right to had been infringed upon.
In deed, religion is an opium and enemy of education. People “educated” up to the rank of PHD, still lose their sense of critical/ analytical reasoning once religion is thrown into any debate and most often, it is people with lower IQ that parrot these religious rites and doctrine that binds a professor into a thinkless spell and trance of emptiness.
The same people who condemned Kayode for fighting for his educational right, are the ones championing the crusade for the wearing of hijab.
According an eye witness, “before the ceremonies were to begin, all Muslims were respectfully asked to remove their hijabs prior to entering the hall. This request was complied with by all the Muslims present except Amasa Firdaus who vehemently refused to remove hers.
In the process of her protests and despite entreaties made to her by other Muslims she was denied entry into the hall by the Body of Benchers. During the ceremony, a Respected former Chief Justice of Nigeria also met with Amasa Firdaus to convince her to remove her hijab but she did not heed the pleadings as she reiterated that even at gun point she would never remove her Hijab.”
Unlike Kayode, Law School or Body of Benchers has not come out to tell us the kind of student
Amasa Firdaus was while in University of Ilorin. Was she a religious fanatic and a closet Boko Haram member? Is this her death wish desire an isolated action or was she chosen by an Islamic movement to taste the waters and start a movement that will lead to religious reforms in Law School and the legal profession?Is this a prelude to the islamization of the legal profession and the judiciary?
Will we have a movement for the separation of classrooms based on gender in Laws school? What happens when African traditional worshippers start their agitation that they want to be called to Bar tying wrapper, singlet and goads of juju on their gown?
Mind you, when Kayode’s new broke, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) kept quiet. Its argument being that Kayode is a law student and not yet a lawyer, therefore not a member of NBA for NBA to intervene. Against this truth, how do you place the comment on hijab credited to A.B.Mahmoud, SAN, President of NBA? To the extent that the president had to bring picture of his daughter wearing hijab while being called to Bar in New York. But the NBA president failed to tell his followers that USA legal system does not wear wig and gown that USA rebelled against British legal system and coined out their own unique dress code. Nigeria legal system is still a poor mirror image of the British legal system. Let me chip in that the title of SAN, is a corruption of British award of Queen’s Counsel (QC.) Just few weeks back, NBA came back from a trade tour of UK. Let us be careful what we wish for as we may not be able to contain the water once the dam burst.
Freedom is like Icarus and must be tied or it runs the risk of melting into anarchy and death. There is no absolute freedom without responsibilities. There are school uniforms and if you feel you don’t like a school’s uniform and not willing to be disciplined, it is your right to exit and the right of others to wear the uniform.
Call to Bar is a solemn rite of passage into a profession that is more of a calling than a vocation. It is an initiation and its rites MUST be obeyed or there will be a disconnect with the god of justice and those who disregard this rite or treat it with levity hardly do they do well in the practice of law. Who gets to be called to Bar without eating diner? Or are all the students that hungry that one cannot escape a meal?
We all have rights to religious believe but when we willingly surrender ourselves to another religion-Law, we must set aside our previous religion and be Fit and Proper as prescribed by our new religion, except if we are not willing to be made Ministers in the Temple of our new religion.
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