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Sanni K. Yusuf

I was approached in anger. The complainer was sad. It was conspicuously written in his physiognomy. His voice trembled like some quake of the earth. He boiled. "What's the matter"? I quizzed. "Why would a principal and the teachers disallow female muslim students the use of hijab after they had been enfranchized by government? What sort of cruelty and disobedience is that? Would they claim they didn't get the circular stating its legality"?

He gave the tale of how those students were living in fear of exercising their religious right; how they would be pressured to pull off their hijabs for no reason adduced. I could not but get worn by anger too as fallen the brother. As a civil servant, I know it's a capital offence to act ultra vires to statutory orders. Such is tantamount to insubordination, and is penalizable under the extant civil service rules.

The school in question is a stone throw from my residence. Our brothers, sisters and the children of members of our mosque are students of the school. We therefore settled for a visit to the principal.

A mere beckon on some members of the mosque did it for me. I got them apprised of the narrative, and they were ever ready to do the hijrah with me. Last Friday, we stormed the principal's office extempore. All but one were attired as though it was a special outing. In fairness, the christian-woman gave us a warm welcome. We were offered seats like familiar visitors. The comfort offered us really oiled my tongue to do a witting presentation. 

"Good day, ma. Thanks for accepting us. We are here to verify the trueness or otherwise of a piece of information we got from your students, ma". "OK, any problem"? she asked in curiosity. "We heard that some of your teachers do deprive our girls the donning of hijab on their uniform despite government's approval of it. So we deemed it crucial to come verify the trueness or otherwise of the information. Thank you, ma". 

"Well, I will say nothing now until one of my muslim teachers had cleared the air concerning the matter". She made a few steps out and gave a shout out at Mrs... One hijabi teacher came around, greeted us and was asked to respond to our purpose of visit. She said:

"Since the circular got to the school, we had ignited compliance. The principal never disallowed any student the use of hijab. She only told them to comply strictly with the content of the circular which stipulates that only the colour of the skirt should be worn. When some of them wore white last week, we asked them to change it to green. In fact, one of them is already wearing the green colour as we speak", she said. For assurance, we requested to see the hijab girl. Immediately, she went on her feet, and in seconds, with her, she returned. Lo and behold, the muslim girl was truly covered in a small green hijab. The hijab was tucked in though, but of course, half bread they say is better than none. 

Hijab has truly come to stay in Lagos schools. Lillaahil hamd! 

The moral lesson here is that whatever piece of information you get from anyone about anyone, do not react vindictively until you had verified its trueness or otherwise, else, you would fight a lover and turn a friend into a foe. 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ.
O believers, if an evildoer brings you any news, verify ˹it˺ so you do not harm people unknowingly, becoming regretful for what you have done.

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