Nursing council approves hijab dress code for students

School girls in hijab [Picture used for illustrative purpose]

The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) has approved the use of hijab for student trainees in nursing and midwifery across the higher education level in the country.

This approval follows a conclusion reached at the MDCN board’s emergency meeting held on 20th December, 2022.

Details of the resolution were made known in a circular addressed to various authorities involved in pre-service and in-service training of nurses and midwives in the country.

It approved shoulder length hijab for female nurses while on duty.

The circular obtained by was dated 22nd December, 2022 and signed by the MDCN secretary-general and registrar, Farouk Umar Abubakar.

It was somewhat a reiteration of an older circular on similar subject matter.

It read in part, “This is coming as a validation of the Circular N&MCN/CMF/721/1/3 of 11th February, 2002 on Nurses Uniform, Paragrapgh 2, No. iii which states that female nurses should wear either a nurse cap or a shoulder-length hijab. However, all content of that circular remains valid”

A 2020 survey on hijab usage discrimination showed that schools account for 41% of all instances of discrimination female Muslims face for using hijab.

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While there was no direct reference to a particular incidence based on hijab usage by nurses, several media reports have been rife with claims of discrimination against female Muslims on such account in departments and colleges of nursing in Nigeria. observed that among the addressees of the circular are the Heads of Departments of Nursing Science in all universities offering nursing programmes, proprietors of colleges of nursing sciences, schools of nursing and midwifery; and provosts and principals of such schools and colleges.

Lagos recalls school officials over hijab

In a related development, the Lagos State government has recalled the principal of Eletu-Odibo Junior High School, Abule-Oja, Yaba, Mrs Christiana Sofuye and other staffers for violating the supreme court judgement on hijab.

The Principal was reported to have compelled female Muslim student to remove her hijab in the school.

Muslim News gathered that the principal’s action was in disobedience to the widely shared circular issued by the state government, urging compliance with the supreme court judgement.

The government has therefore renewed its warning to principals and staff of various public schools in the state to desist from assaulting students because of the hijab.

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This was contained in a circular issued by Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary Education District IV, Osinaike Olusegun Olawale, noting anyone caught violating the supreme court judgement on hijab in schools will face dire consequences.

The supreme court had ruled in favour of the hijab, upholding the constitutional rights of Muslim students to wear it in schools.

The Tutor-General said the Lagos State government strictly frowns at disobedience against the supreme court judgement.

He added that other officers involved in the violation at the school have also been recalled alongside the principal.

The statement reads, “Consequent upon the Supreme Court judgement on the use of hijab in Lagos State Schools delivered on 17th June, 2022 and the Head of Service Circular No. 068, dated 5th December, 2022 which was made available to all principals through the Information Platform *(E34 Notice formation)*, available information at our disposal alleged that the principal of Eletu-Odibo Junior High School, Abule-Oja, Yaba decided to violate the judgement of the Apex Court and the H.O.S Circular, which is tantamount to misconduct and punishable under the Lagos State Public Service Rule (PSR).

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“However, the principal and other officers involved have been recalled from the school with immediate effect, while investigation is ongoing.

“For the avoidance of doubt, henceforth, any principal or staff member, caught assaulting students on the issue of hijab or in one way or the other contravenes the hijab judgement will face dire consequences. It should be of note that the Lagos State Government strictly frowns at disobedience and will be viewed seriously.”

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