Muslim Women Group Accuses Army Of Harassment
A Muslim women group called Almuminat Islamic Group has accused the Nigerian Army of harassing its members over the use of hijab.
Addressing a press conference in Ilorin in Kwara State, the spokesperson for the group, Mutiat Owolewa, explained that a Muslim sister on her way to school at Kwara State University was asked to come down from a vehicle and asked to remove her veil by a soldier at Sobi Barracks Checkpoint.
Her refusal, she said, infuriated the soldier who pointed at the banner of the leader of the Boko Haram sect and told the lady to ask him why he was directing her to remove the hijab.
Owolewa further claimed that she was eventually taken to a lady soldier who checked and found nothing on her, but was not released until after 30 minutes, after being hurled with insults.
She also claimed that another incident happened three days later when another Muslim lady was also accosted to remove hijab in the open after she had identified herself as a student.
The soldier she noted threatened that it was an order from above to remove ladies’ hijab openly to ascertain their identity.
The group, however, appealed to the Federal Government to stop the military from harassing them.
In his response, the Commander of 22 Armoured Brigade in Ilorin, Brigadier General Benjamin Sawyerr, said the matter was brought to his attention through the social media and wondered why the lady could not lodge complaint if truly such harassment occurred.
He defended the action of the soldier of wanting to know the identity of the lady, explaining that the activities of the Boko Haram sect had left them with the option of wanting to know the true face of the person wearing the hijab.
Brigadier General Sawyerr, however, stressed that a soldier would never harass anyone.