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Nigeria: Muslim body slams ‘hijab ban on nurses’ in Abeokuta

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LAGOS, (AA): A Muslim advocacy group has slammed the alleged maltreatment of hijab-wearing female nurses at government hospitals in southwest Nigeria.
Muslim nurses, especially those who work at a psychiatric clinic in southwestern Abeokuta town, are reportedly being barred from their wards because of their head coverings.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) said in a statement on Tuesday that authorities at the psychiatric hospital had repeatedly ignored calls to allow Muslim nurses to wear their hijab as allowed under the country’s law and a government circular.
The group said the hospital management denied knowledge of a government circular dated February 11, 2002, which asserted that any female Muslim nurse who desires to use the hijab be allowed to do so.
The circular had been issued by the Nigerian Midwife and Nursing Council, a statutory body established by the government.
“The intimidation [of the Muslim women] has continued and if not checked in time may be reciprocated by resistance of the Muslim community,” according to MURIC.
The authorities of the hospital are yet to issue any public statement on the incident, but a certain Mr. Odigili mentioned in the Muslim body’s statement denied that Muslim nurses were being barred from wearing the head covering. “The allegation is false. Nobody has prevented anybody from wearing the hijab. We co-habit with everyone in peace, we are peaceful here. Plans to disrupt public peace through this will definitely fail,” Odigili told Anadolu Agency via phone, demanding to know which nurse had reported the case to the media.
Odigili is said to be the head of nurses at the neuro-psychiatric hospital. He neither confirmed nor denied the claim that the Muslim community had written to the hospital in protest against the alleged ban.
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