By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria’s psychiatric clinic in southwestern Abeokuta town will allow the Muslim headscarves, saying in a latest circular that Muslim female nurses were now at liberty to wear “shoulder-length” hijab or skullcap.
The neuropsychiatric hospital announced the new policy on the hijab on Wednesday, the day Anadolu Agency published a statement by a top Muslim organization condemning the alleged ban on Muslim nurses who wear the headscarves.
“The new memo was signed by the management and it simply states that Muslim female nurses, who so desire, are now allowed to wear shoulder-length hijab or skullcap on top their uniform,” a top management staff at the clinic told Anadolu Agency on Friday morning, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
At least two Muslim nurses confirmed the development.
Ishaq Akintola, professor of Islamic eschatology and coordinator of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), said the decision was welcome.
“Though belated, the hospital has just done the right thing. Government parastatals and agencies should stop generating tension by denying citizens their rights,” Akintola told Anadolu Agency, days after MURIC protested the purported hijab ban.
“All acts of stigmatization of Muslims should stop forthwith. Muslims are peace-loving but they should not be provoked,” he added.
The MURIC had 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 Feb. 11, 2002, which asserted that any female Muslim nurse who desires to wear 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.