The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic rights advocacy group, has commended the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for approving the use of hijab for female officers.
In a statement yesterday, Ahmad Galadima, chairman of the Zamfara MURIC chapter, said the development is another way to encourage religious freedom in the country.
SKYTREND NEWS had reported that the new dress code allows female officers to use headscarves, as well as stud earrings, under their berets and peak caps while on uniform.
Galadima said many female officers have complained of being uncomfortable in their uniforms, adding that the hijab will not stop them from performing their duties efficiently.
“MURIC hereby expresses deep appreciation to the Nigeria police high command, particularly the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, for listening to the pleas and advocacies of MURIC and other Muslim groups which have been demanding the use of hijab in the security and uniformed agencies for decades,” the statement reads.
“This is a landmark development in the history of the struggle for Muslim civil rights. It is the greatest news of the century and the beginning of a new dawn. It is another bite from the dividends of democracy for Nigerian Muslims.
“With this approval, the Nigeria police high command has proved that it is keeping pace with global best practices in police formations around the world.
“The hijab does not interfere with the professional efficiency of the person wearing it. A Muslim woman who wears hijab has only covered her head, not her brain! Hijab is a crown, not a crime.
“It is also important to note that the high police command statement was entitled ‘Newly Approved (Optional) Dress Code for Police Women’. It is therefore meant for female police women who wish to use it alone. Some female Muslim police women who do not wish to use it are free to continue dressing the old way. This means no police woman will be compelled to use hijab. We are deliberately laying emphasis on this to foreclose mischief and misinterpretation.
“MURIC appeals to other security agencies to approve hijab for their female Muslim staffers who wish to use it. This appeal goes to uniformed security agencies like the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Immigrations and Customs as well as para-military bodies and traffic formations like the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).
“At this juncture, we are constrained to reveal that many female soldiers, police women, female traffic officers, female immigration staff, etc, who are Muslims, have complained to MURIC that they are yearning for use of hijab because they are not comfortable without it.
“We thank all those who have worked behind the scene in collaboration with MURIC, particularly the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), and Senator Ibrahim Shekarau. Equally worthy of mention are various Islamic organisations in the country.
“It has been a long road in our struggle for recognition of hijab in the security agencies. Its approval by the police yesterday signals hope for our dear country, Nigeria. The wind of freedom is blowing.”