Islam has crept into the Nigeria Police Force, with the new uniform code approved by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, for female cops, especially muslims.
The dress code allows women to wear stud earrings and headscarf under their berets or peak caps as the case may be while in uniform.
The dress code was unveiled at the IGP’s meeting with Strategic Police Managers on March 3, 2022.
Photographs of the new uniform began circulating on Saturday. They indicate that the police establishment has bowed to Hijab advocates.
The National Coordinator of the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria Alh. Abdullahi Ibrahim described the policy as the ‘ right step in the right direction.
According to the Group, the new improved dress code for women in the Police now ranked the Nigeria Police with its counterparts the world over, as fundamentals of human rights including evolving policies that carry along ‘all and sundry’ irrespective of religious, cultures and ethnic diversities is well respected internationally.
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However, senior lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa said the dress code was a breach of the Nigerian constitution.
“The religion of public officers, including members of the security agencies, should be a private matter to them. The Inspector-General of Police is not competent to use the platform of his office to enforce religion”, Adegboruwa said.
“Section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that government and all its agencies should be neutral in religious matters.
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“Section 42 of the same Constitution prohibits discrimination in all its ramifications. In this regard, there will be no end to confusion attending the new dress code prescribed by the IGP.
“What will be the official uniform for police women who are in the Catholic Church?
“How should policemen and women who are in the Celestial Church dress up when the practice of their church is against wearing shoes at all?
“And how should traditionalists who are in the police force dress up, with charms and amulets round their uniforms?
“The Nigeria Police has existed as an institution since 1945 and it is strange that of all the issues confronting that agency, such as low morale, poor welfare, poor infrastructure, poor training, poor welfare, etc, religious adornment should be the priority of the Inspector-General of Police.
“The police should focus on combating crime, improve citizens engagement and help guaranty safety of lives and property. The religious preferences of policemen and women should be their private matters”.
But Alkali, envisaging legal barbs like this said the dress code is optional.
“Senior Women Police Officers have been tasked by the IGP to ensure compliance with the approved standard for women police officers who have opted to adopt the dress code.
“The Inspector-General of Police noted that this development, which is in line with international best practices addresses the growing concern for gender mainstreaming and respect for culture and diversity”.
He noted that the Nigeria Police workforce has officers from every local government in the country with a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and an increased inclusion of female folks.
“This therefore brings the need to guarantee inclusion, gender mainstreaming, ethnic and religious diversity in the work place for optimum output and professionalism.
“This has informed the improvement for effective global workforce diversity management.
“Other countries that have adopted same dress code include Canada, the United States of America, Sweden, Turkey, Australia and the United Kingdom amongst others”, the IGP claimed.
Also, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lambasted Adegboruwa, also urged the police to ignore his statement.
In a statement by Ustadh Jibril Ayu-Akpanim, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom Chapter of the group stated that despite the legal practitioner’s human rights struggles, he has never shown support for the civil rights struggles of Nigerian Muslims, alleging that Adegboruwa is a Muslim-hater.
It further asked that Adegboruwa should be stripped of his SAN title, stating that he had shown opposition to justice for Muslims.
MURIC said, “How can a whole SAN oppose a matter of fundamental human rights? It is paradoxical that those who know the law are the ones who adopt prejudice against civil rights matters. Adegboruwa’s vituperation sprang from personal acrobatic religiosity. His articles and comments on the hijab crisis in Kwara and other places symptomize bias, intolerance and pathological hatred for Muslims.
“Is this the same senior lawyer who has been articulate on human rights in Nigeria all these years? We are appalled that he has elected selective justice. It means Adegboruwa’s definition of human rights is exclusive. Muslims must not enjoy human rights. Muslims have no place in his concept of equal rights, freedom and justice. Adegboruwa has exposed himself as a Muslim-hater nulli secundus.
“Adegboruwa should be stripped of his SAN title. A senior lawyer who ignored the tyranny of school principals and teachers who have been persecuting innocent school girls over an ordinary headscarf for decades but jumps up within 24 hours to oppose a window of liberty for them does not deserve the highest decoration in his profession.
“The SAN is asking how Catholics and Anglican women police should dress now that their Muslim colleagues have been allowed to use hijab. He should tell us how Catholic and Anglican policewomen dress in Britain, America, Canada, etc. By the way, is Adegoruwa telling us that he has never seen pictures of Mary the mother of Jesus (peace be upon him)? Has he ever seen Mary without a hijab on her head? Bigotry is indeed an almost incurable disease.
“Adegboruwa should ask Catholic and Anglican policewomen to demand their own form of dress code if such a thing exists in real life. He will be surprised to see that Nigerian Muslims will not oppose their demand. Islam condemns pettiness and selfishness. It teaches Muslims to live and let others live. Anyway, Adegboruwa may advise Catholic and Anglican policewomen to dress like Mary, the much-honoured mother of Jesus (peace be upon him).
“Adegboruwa should know that the current uniform of the police satisfies Nigerian Christians because it was designed ab initio by the British colonialists who, essentially, were Christians. That is why Nigerian Christians have never complained about uniforms in schools and in security agencies.
“Muslim interest was not taken into consideration by the colonialists when they were designing uniforms for schools and the security agencies. Justice and the need for inclusiveness demand that the design should be reviewed in the post-independence period. That is why even the recent approval must be seen as belated.
“Quarter-finally, has Adegboruwa forgotten the outcome of the hocus pocus created in Osun State when the court approved hijab and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) incited Christian students to wear ridiculous garbs like church choir, Sango, Oya and masquerade dresses to school?
“How long did it last? He should go to the state today to see how the female Muslim students shine with their hijab. No matter how fast falsehood runs and for how long, truth will catch up with it in a single day.
“Semi-finally, we advise Adegboruwa to go to court if he feels so strongly that Muslim female policewomen have no right to use hijab. He may also want to go further by approaching the international court at the Hagues to stop British, American and Canadian police women and soldiers from using same. Islamophobia in the legal profession is not new to us.”
Hijab does not protect female officers from AK-47 bullets, HURIWA slams IGP
Moreso, Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Sunday, lambasted the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, over the introduction of new dress code for female police officers.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the new dress code for female police officers negated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution that forbade the elevation of any religion as state religion.
The group argued that the use of hijab and studded earring would not in any way increase the efficiency of police officers nor protect them from flying AK-47 bullets fired by daring criminals and bandits in the country of late.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said that the new dress code is illegal, unconstitutional and sectarian, alleging that it was a move to fulfil the “Islamisation agenda” of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Onwubiko said, “Despite the many challenges including declining staff numbers, low morale, poor training and poor welfare confronting the Nigeria Police Force under IGP Usman Baba, it is unfortunate that he chose to prioritise religious adornment over weightier matters.
“HURIWA wonders how the new dress code is of any use to the shrinking 300,000 police officers in the country whose salaries are barely paid by the government and whose dilapidated barracks are unfit for pigs let alone human beings.
“Logically speaking, to what intent and purpose is the use of hijab for female police officers chasing criminals on the streets of Lagos or combating bandits on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway? Would the hijab deflect AK-47 bullets fired by bandits from hitting the officers? The IGP should get serious.
“The Nigeria Police has been in existence since 1945 and wearing of hijab for female police officers is illegal and unconstitutional as the religion of public officers, including members of the security agencies, should be a private matter to them.
“Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that government and all its agencies should be neutral in religious matters while Section 42 of the same Constitution forbids discrimination in all its ramifications.
“The IGP, being a Muslim from Borno State where Boko Haram operates freely, should not use the post he currently occupies to enthrone Islam on the plurality of members of the Force comprising Muslims, Christians, Catholics, traditionalists, etc. The IGP should respect his oath of office and desist from fanatism and the hijab controversy that has sharply divided and inflamed states such as Osun, Kwara, amongst others. He should desist from such fanatism as demonstrated by the government-backed Hisbah Police in northern Nigeria.
“If the Muslim female officers are allowed to wear hijab, how should policemen and women who are in the Celestial Church dress up when the practice of their church is against wearing shoes at all? And how should traditionalists who are in the police force dress up, with charms and amulets round their uniforms?
“Usman Baba should focus on combating crime, improve citizens’ engagement and help guarantee safety of lives and property. The religious preferences of policemen and women should be their private matters.”