The Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, recently approved an optional new dress code for women officers, permitting them to wear stud earrings and headscarf under their berets or peak caps as the case may be. The dress code was reportedly unveiled at the IGP’s meeting with Strategic Police Managers on March 3, 2022.
Why hijabs should be illegal for police women in Nigeria [Pulse Editor's Opinion]
Our loyalty towards our religious and ethnic differences is the reason why our blood spills so easily.
According to public statistics, Over half of the population is estimated to be Muslim, while Christian religions make up around 45 percent of the total. Mentally, Nigeria is divided into two; Christian and Muslim; North and South.
The Christian-Muslim strife in modern Nigeria can be traced as far back as our decade of independence.The Igbo massacre of 1966 in the North that followed the counter-coup of the same year was a dual cause of the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état and pre-existing (sectarian) tensions between the Igbos and the local Muslims. This was a major factor in the Biafran secession and the resulting civil war. Today, religious violence in Nigeria is dominated by the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.
Religious crises have affected the growth and development of communities and people in particular and the economy in general. Many lives have been cut short, properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed, while innocent Nigerians displaced and turned refugees in their father's land.
Our loyalty towards our religious and ethnic differences is the reason why our blood spills so easily. The police force, wearing the disguise of inclusivity, has taken another bold step to cause even more divide among the people who should be protecting our lives and properties.
While the constitutional right to freedom of religion under section 38(1) exists, under section 10 of the same Constitution provides that ‘The Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion. Hence, the government and all its agencies should be neutral in religious matters.
Some rights become blurred lines when you consent to joining an agency of the government. Joining the police comes with a sacrifice of ethnic and religious identity, at least while in uniform. Anyone who cannot let go of the things that divide Nigeria is simply not fit to be in any government agency. In summary, the argument against the hijab is that it violates the supposed religious neutrality of the Nigerian state under section 10 of the national rule book. The police should not have the option of ethnic and religious colouration.
*Pulse Editor's Opinion is the viewpoint of an Editor at Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the Organisation Pulse.
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