House Bill Seeking To Compel Wearing Of Hijab In Military Passes Second Reading

A bill pending approval by the Federal House of Representatives is seeking to establish compulsory use of Hijab by female military personnel.

The bill tagged, ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill 2020’, was presented to the lower chamber of the National Assembly by the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Member representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, Saidu Abdullahi, Naija News understands.

The bill though has passed second reading at the House, it however does not propose any fine or jail time for persons who discriminate against individuals wearing hijab.

It only stated that anyone who contravenes the section would have committed an offence, Naija News understands. The bill seeks approval to compel the Armed Forces and para-military organisations to permit female officers to wear the Islamic veil, commonly known as hijab.

Recall that an attempt by the Kwara State government under the leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to impose Hijab wearing on Christian Missionary schools in the state has caused chaos recently.

However, article 13 of the bill sponsored by Abdullahi, forbids the military from discriminating against anyone wearing a hijab.

Article 13(2) of the bill reads: “Any person employed in the security sector, whether within the military or paramilitary or otherwise, shall not be discriminated against on the ground of the exercise of his right to the manifestation of his religion in worship, teaching, practice and observance such as wearing religious emblem, head cover, or hijab in concomitant with the common uniform code or code of conduct in relation to the choice of colour, type, or design of such religious emblem, religious headcover or hijab.”

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The bill further declared that the High Court will have original jurisdiction on such matters while the National Human Rights Commission shall have the power either on its own motion or upon a petition presented by an aggrieved person to investigate allegations of any violation of the provisions of the Bill within a reasonable time or not more than 30 days.

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