Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has demanded for the sack of the principal of the International School, Ibadan (ISI), Mrs Phebean Olowe over the molestation and oppression of its Hijab wearing students.
MURIC also called on all Muslims in Oyo State to stage massive but nonviolent protests against the anti-Hijab menace, which has pervaded the entire Southwest region of Nigeria.
The body described the action of the school as a violation of international laws and their constitutional and divine right.
This was contained in a press release signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola while reacting to the incident which took place last tuesday, who described the incident as the ‘height of religious apartheid, a show of shame and mother of all apartheid’.
According to the Director, “We demand the immediate sack of the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe. We call on the Honourable Minister of Education, the NASS and the UI authorities to do the needful on the ISI imbroglio.
“Olowe must go. Hijab must be allowed in the school. Not because MURIC wants it but because that is what the law says and ISI, UI and others must obey the rule of law.
“She is a huge disgrace to motherhood, an unmitigated disaster in the pursuit of education for all, an established Muslim-hater and a tyrant in academic garb. Our call for action to be taken against Mrs. Olowe is based on the provisions of Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria which says:
(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government (or its agencies-addition ours), to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions are not made subject’.
“Also under the school principal’s watch, female Muslim students have been publicly stigmatized, publicly embarrassed and traumatised. Her actions therefore constitute a deliberate and calculated disregard for Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991) which provides ‘A public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any act prejudicial to the rights of any person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy’.
“ISI belongs to UI and UI belongs to the Federal Government (FG). This implies that Mrs. Olowe is a public officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has blatantly abused her office. FG must therefore call her to order through UI, her employer”.
The Professor of Islamic Eschatology said the action of ISI is a clear violation of Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Article 4, Clause 1 of Africa Charter of Human and Peoples’ Right, Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms, Article 18 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights amongst others.
“All the above international legal instruments empower us to externalize the struggle if the authorities fail to act. MURIC will have no option than to drag the Nigerian government, the National Assembly, authorities of the University of Ibadan, its Council and Senate Mrs. Phebean Olowe as well as the governments of all South Western states that allow the persecution of female Muslim students using hijab or disallows the latter from using hijab to the United Nations for actively persecuting and profiling the girl-child in Nigeria. We will expose the hypocrisy of South West leaders who pretend to support education for the girl-child but discreetly encourage those who lock school gates against female Muslim children”.
The MURIC Director, therefore call on all Muslims in the state to unite on a peaceful protest in curbing the menace and bringing a lasting solution to the Hijab molestation.
He said, “MURIC hereby declares the extension of dialogue. We will no longer limit our intervention to ordinary press statements. We will no longer watch in silence and agony as our daughters and mothers are defiled and disgraced in public. All those schools where our daughters are being denied their Allah-given fundamental human rights were built with public funds. They are our common patrimony because Muslims are also tax-payers. There is no Christian Central Bank of Nigeria just as there is no Muslim Central Bank. Public schools belong to all.
“You will see us on the streets from now on albeit for non-violent expression of our rights. With this statement, we are directing the Oyo State chapter of MURIC to join forces with the Muslim Parents Forum (MPF) of ISI under the leadership of Alhaji Abdul Rahman Balogun, Ibadan Muslim Community under the leadership of renowned Muslim activist and dynamic leader, Alhaji Kunle Sanni and the Muslim Students Society (MSS) Zone 2. We must #occupy ISI, UI and South West state assemblies until they do the needful.
“The Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) cannot afford to close its eyes to the molestation, harassment, intimidation and coercion of its daughters and future members.
“#ourmumudondo. Rights anywhere in the world are never given on platters of gold. They are demanded and struggled for. Enough of Muslim docility. We must act now or never! Yoruba Muslims have been pushed to the wall. Fingers have been poked in our eyes because we elected to be civil and tolerant. Now we are in pain. Our hearts are bleeding. Our daughters are crying. The parents are angry. Muslim youths are emotionally charged. The elders are torn between Chillan and Charybdis. Olowe has murdered sleep. She shall sleep no more.
“We ask NASFAT, QAREEB, Ansarud-Deen, Nawairu-Deen, etc, are you not touched? You must not allow Nigerians to see you as sleeping giants. We have the number. Unfortunately we are too docile. MURIC is using the extant laws of the land to challenge the status quo. There is nothing illegal in what we are doing.
“The struggle must be sustained even if security agents arrest MURIC’s leaders. No surrender, no retreat until all our daughters suffering humiliation in Abeokuta, Ogbomosho, Lagos and Ibadan are granted full, comprehensive and irreversible permission to use hijab in all schools. We do not issue threats but we repeat, No retreat, No surrender,” he concluded.
– By Abdul Waheed Shotonwa
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