BEING TEXT OF A PRESS RELEASE MADE ON 29 AUGUST, 2016 BY THE MUSLIM RIGHTS’ CONCERN (MURIC) OGUN STATE CHAPTER ON ATTACKS ON MUSLIM NURSES AT THE NEURO-PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL ARO, ABEOKUTA MANAGEMENT.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Ogun State Chapter is constrained at this moment to issue this press release due to the unwarranted attacks by the Christian-led Management on Muslim nurses and its penchant for ecclesiastical pursuit in a Federal government hospital.
Permit us to state at the beginning that the issue of hijab (veil) by nurses in hospital is a fundamental human right and Allah-ordained injunction contained in the holy Qur’an (Surat an–Nur chapter 24 verses 30 – 31) and even the Bible in I Cor. 11:4-12 that women should cover their heads. However, we were not perturbed by the management’s disrespect for the divine injunction only but its insubordination to constituted authority which makes it posing great danger to our society of multi-religious nature.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Midwife and Nursing Council in a Circular dated February 11, 2002 referenced N& MCN/CMF/721/1/3 stated that the use of hijab is a constitutional and fundamental right of Muslim women for anyone who chooses to wear it yet the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital management has been denying Muslim nurses the right to use hijab.
The claim by the hospital management that there is no extant rule or directive approving the use of hijab is not only pure insubordination but outright disregard for a federal agency such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council that issued the circular authorizing use of hijab by nurses. Besides, every right thinking person should help us ask the Hospital management extremists that if there is no directive to use hijab as it claimed, was there any directive from Federal government banning hijab use by nurses? If not, why prevent Muslim nurses from using hijab if not pure extremism of the Management and the Islamophobic venture it has vowed to promote?
When we got the information, we investigated it and confirmed that the management under the leadership of Dr A.O Akinhanmi was aware of the circular yet it was bent on executing the mission of removing all vestiges of Islam in the Hospital.
In our effort to call the attention of the management to our displeasure with their extremism and insubordination, we wrote a protest letter dated and submitted on August 23, 2016 and acknowledged by the Provost office but to our dismay, the Hospital management went weird by assigning and directing Mr Odigili and Mrs Akeweje to ensure none of the nurses using hijab is allowed into the ward even when nuns use theirs without hindrance.
In fact, in a normal clime, the hospital management’s extremism ought to be met with stiff sanction to serve as a deterrent and this is what should be done in this case except the Honourable Minister of Health and other relevant authorities want to do the usual practice of let me rub my brethren’s back, The intimidation has continued since then and if not checked in time may be reciprocated by resistance of the Muslim Community and Dr Akinhanmi and his messengers should be held responsible for the consequences.
It is obvious that the ensuing peace in Nigeria is possible because of the perseverance and tolerance of the Muslims who despite unwarranted provocation from those who pay lip service to the message of mutual respect for all religious adherents but never for once abide by the admonition. If not, how does a Muslim hijab affect or concern a non-Muslim if not sheer extremism and intolerance.
Apart from disturbing fellowship everywhere, tolerant Muslims are still not allowed to practice their religion and its injunctions and should this have been from a Muslim, the whole world would have been engulfed with propaganda. These same set of non-Muslim extremists went ahead in Ayotoro Road area of Abeokuta on June 30, 2016 and beat up a student for using hijab in her residence while the Ogun state police even collaborated by failing to make any arrest till date when formally informed.
From the position of the management of Neuro-psychiatric hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, it is glaring that it has some pre-emptive agenda and having such management to continue leading the hospital will create chaos. Therefore, we call on the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole and other relevant arms and agencies of government to intervene by restraining the management of Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Aro from further intimidation and victimization of Muslim nurses and other staff using hijab unless it wants us to mobilize in full force to resist the fanatical disposition of Management of the hospital. Since they have known their mission, it would be better to allow them go out of the system to have time to establish their own health institutions where their mission would better be achieved.
Therefore, we implore and call on the general public and international organizations to prevail on the Management of the Hospital to shed its Christianization agenda for national interest of promoting justice, fairness and equity. We believe in live and let others live. Therefore, since no Muslim has ever forced Christians to wear hijab, why dictating to us how we should dress when we have our rights and do not impose on Christians how to live their lives?
The management should let peace reign and stop intimidating, victimizing and disturbing Muslims and ensure unrestrictive permission to Muslim nurses to use hijab as guaranteed by the constitution which provides “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’’ of which the use of hijab (veil) signifies manifestation of one’s belief which the constitution guarantees.
Luqman Soliu Olawale Muritado
Coordinator, Public Relations Officer
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) , Ogun State Chapter.