The Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria at its National Executive Committee [NEC] Meeting held at The NBA Benin Branch Secretariat, Behind High Court Complex, High Court Road, Benin City, Edo State on Saturday 31st of March, 2018 considered several issues of urgent national importance including, but not limited to: the insecurity in the country; National Integration; Firdausa Al–Jannah Amasa Hijab impasse; Press Release on Dress Code by FCT High Court; NBA politics; 2018 MULAN Conference; misguided remarks and disparaging utterances by politicians and certain personalities on security issues in the country, State of the Nation.
The opening ceremony of the meeting was chaired by Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice E. F. Ikponmwen, ably represented by Honourable Justice V. O. A. Oviawe who in an opening remark appreciated the efforts of Muslim Lawyers for coming together under one umbrella called MULAN to speak with one voice, pursue and achieve laudable goals. He advised MULAN to be more united in their struggle to entrench justice and rule of law in the country.
NEC carefully considered the above issues and resolved as follows:
National integration is said to be the forging of a common identity among the citizens of this country and to address most of the problems bedeviling this country, there is need for National integration. The much touted Fiscal Federalism, as laudable as the concept may sound, is a serious threat to National integration and thus will not solve the country’s problems. That robust, visionary and mentally proactive leadership is the desideratum needed in this country to drive the much needed national integration. African countries such as Tanzania which had similar problems have successfully used national integration among which include promotion of common language; improvement of educational curriculum by teaching history of the country from primary school; equitable allocation and distribution of national resources and the indoctrination of the citizens to identify themselves as Tanzanians rather by their ethnic origin. National integration was also successfully used by President SUKARNO of Indonesia and Malaysia Prime Minister, Dr. Mahadir to attain the present height these two countries have attained in the committee of nations.
FIRDAUSA AL-JANNAH AMASA HIJAB IMPASSE
By Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, every Nigerian has the constitutional right to manifest his/her religion. This constitutional provision has enjoyed several judicial interpretations by superior courts to the effect that this right is inalienable provided it does not go against public interest. 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. MULAN NEC therefore supports the use of Hijab by female Muslims in the Nigerian Law School, Call to the Nigerian Bar and by female Legal Practitioners, Judges and Justices in accordance with the provisions of Section 38. In view of this, MULAN NEC has resolved to design a Hijab compliant collaret with bib for use by Muslim female Legal Practitioners so as to conform with the tradition of the Legal Profession in Nigeria.
PRESS RELEASE ON DRESS CODE BY FCT HIGH COURT
On the 28th of March, 2018 the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory issued a press release recognizing the use of certain outfit for Lawyers who will be appearing in all the High Courts of FCT. This directive directly prohibits the use of any apparel underneath wigs by Lawyers and by extension the Hijab by Female Muslim Lawyers. MULAN NEC observed that this directive runs 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. On this ground and by the provisions of Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this directive is unfortunate, draconian, illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful. 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.
On NBA 2018 elections, the NEC stressed that the leadership of MULAN has not yet endorsed any candidate for the NBA National President’s Position and that MULAN will soon constitute a committee that would be saddled with the responsibilities of screening all persons seeking elective positions into all NBA National Offices with a view to having consensus candidates.
2018 MULAN CONFERENCE
The 2018 Annual General Conference of MULAN will be held in Kano, Kano State in the last week of June, 2018 in compliance with the constitution of the Association. The Conference Planning Committee (CPC) was constituted and the SHURA COUNCIL will be constituted by the National Executive Officers before the 2018 Conference to elect new EXCO.
MISGUIDED REMARKS AND DISPARAGING UTTERANCES BY POLITICIANS AND CERTAIN PERSONALITIES ON SECURITY ISSUES IN THE COUNTRY
MULAN NEC condemns all statements by politicians and certain personalities meant to pitch Nigerian citizens against the Nigerian Military. The statement by T. Y. Danjuma, (Rtd. Gen) claiming that the Nigerian Military is complicit on the various killings in Nigeria and that Nigerians should defend themselves against the Military is a security threat and is condemned by MULAN NEC.
STATE OF THE NATION
ON RELEASE OF DAPCHI GIRLS
MULAN NEC commends the Federal Government for the safe return of 104 Dapchi Girls. MULAN NEC urges the Federal Government to use every means available to it to secure the release Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi Girl still in captivity. MULAN NEC condemns CAN for making the issue of the kidnap of the Dapchi Girls a religious issue and blaming the Federal Government for not ensuring the release of the girl because she is a Christian.
ON EXPULSION OF MUSLIMS FROM TAFAWA BALEWA TOWNSHIP IN BAUCHI STATE
MULAN NEC observed that Muslims in Tafawa Balewa have been displaced from their town for so long and no single Mosque is now standing in the town as all have either been burnt down or demolished. MULAN NEC urges the Federal Government to seriously look into this human right abuse and restore normalcy to Tafawa Balewa township of Bauchi State.
Pursuant to the recent report in the media to the effect that 87% of prison inmates all over the country are awaiting trial inmates, MULAN NEC directed each State branch to, within one (1) month, conduct visitation to prisons in their States to take statistics of awaiting trial inmates in the prisons irrespective of their gender, religion, tribe or ethnic group and report their findings to the National Officers of the Association. The National Officers will thereafter take necessary steps to ensure that these awaiting trial inmates will henceforth have requisite legal representations by members of the Association.
Dr. Kamal Dawud, Esq.