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“I knew that was what was going to happen” – Firdaus on Not Being Called to Bar for Wearing Hijab

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"I knew that was what was going to happen" - Firdaus speaks on Not Being Called to Bar - BellaNaija

Firdaus Amasa has said she was aware her insistence on wearing her hijab on her call to bar ceremony would get her barred, Premium Times reports.

Firdaus had been denied from being called to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) after showing up to her call to bar wearing her hijab.

The internet had gone agog, some people saying she knew the rules and should have abided by them, while others said it is her fundamental human right to wear a hijab.

The president of NBA, A. B. Mahmoud has described the controversy as needless, saying it will be addressed.

Firdaus, speaking to Premium Times, said her major concern was to pave the way for others in the coming years to be permitted to use their hijab during the ceremony.

She said there are no laws proscribing the use of the hijab, and it is only a convention. She added she “knew that was what was going to happen.” She said:

My major concern is the approval of Hijab so that every person coming behind me will be able to use it for the call to bar.

There is nothing like that (laws preventing the use of Hijab). When you ask them too, they tell you it is convention; that that is how it is done and it has to remain like that.

My demand is that Hijab should be approved.

Photo Credit: @Busaayo

51 Comments

  1. aboynamedDesmond

    December 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Firdaus, if I slap you and your attention seeking ass ehn. Fake activist oshi. Pseudo Rosa Parks. Enjoy your week of fame before we focus on what’s really important. Christmas.

    • Muna Y-B

      December 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      You are very stupid. If abroad they let everyone be called to the bar regardless of the religious symbols that they wear, what makes the Nigerian Bar Association so different ?. You should be quiet if you don’t have anything intelligent to say at all. Firdaus has worked hard to achieve her qualifications and should be called to the bar without prejudice.

    • Amy

      December 16, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      You call setting the pace for others to follow ‘attention seeking’? Wow!!! This here is a clear example of how we major on the minor.

    • MurderSheWrote

      December 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      I won’t say more than: You are merely an ignorant person. Back to the matter, to be fair, her hijab does not obstruct the wig. I know it’s the rules of the profession but hey, they are man made rules and can be bent to allow for what faith/religion demands. This is a mild form of persecution imho. Why can’t she and other hijabis wear their head covering under the wig if it’s not covering or distracting. P.S. I am not a Muslim. I only value the upholding of fundamental human rights that don’t cause harm or death.

    • Fizzy

      December 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      Rubbish the two of you. What precedent is she setting? Ugly attention seeking oshii. Any you that talked about what happens abroad when you have never left your village. Do you know what obtains in each country? So, which country abroad are you talking?? The rule says no wig on wig. If this is changed, l just hope the legal profession is ready for deeper lifers to tie their scarf up to their eyes and The other faiths are allowed to dress the way they want. Trust Nigerians to spoil everything. The President of the NBA that is talking rubbish, did his daughter wear hijab to the American embassy when she went to apply for her visa? Nonsense. Ndi muslim always causing trouble.

    • Cocoa

      December 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      I am ASHAMED that you would leave a comment like this. And then to bring CHRISTMAS into the mix.

      If you don’t agree with her..say precisely that! You will “slap” her…really???

    • Ahmxxd

      December 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      What is really important “Christmas” your ignorant of is really important did you now the origin of Christ-mass a pagan practice go and find out more. Is this really important for you.

    • Purple

      December 18, 2017 at 10:54 am

      I am shamed by all these comments am seeing hear. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but the more you say this is not about religion the more it shows that it is what all this is about. I do pray that all this hate you carry in your hearts will turn to love or it will consume you to the point that you will wake up one day and you will not recognize yourself. Stay blessed..

  2. Seiooukyky

    December 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Okay, she’s trying to make a name for herself. Well, that’s the beauty of life people fight for their own beliefs. I’m against Islam. However, Islam is recognized and practiced as a main religion in Nigeria. The president is Muslim.. So I believe she should be allowed to wear her hijab.
    In the U.S, islam is not a main religion, so if hijab is banned you go by their rules.

  3. Rukky

    December 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Kudos Firdaus.??

  4. Ifeoluwa

    December 16, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I feel she should have just obeyed this law,if everyone starts aggreviating on what should be worn to be called to the bar.Decorum will be thrown out of the window and some people will start misusing this opportunity.There is a dresscode so it should be obeyed.My thoughts thou.

    • Cocoa

      December 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Now THIS is how you disagree like a CIVILISED citizen.

    • Plain

      December 17, 2017 at 10:31 am

      What part of there is no law prohibiting the wearing of the hijab did you miss?

  5. CrazyWorld

    December 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    So many wrong things everywhere in the world. If we start throwing tantrums for everything, everywhere will scatter. The first commenter is right, this girl is seeking attention and this has nothing to do with ‘what is right’.

    Some twitter users claimed they begged her but she said no. It is wrong that we stand and queue inside banks but we do it anyway. It is wrong that we pay 65 to withdraw our own money but we do anyway. It is wrong that workers are paid half salaries but what do we do? Imagine the commotion if all SU and Deeper life women say they must wear skirts in the NYSC camp because of religion. This is not a case of someone raping you and walking free, it is not a case of someone saying you won’t graduate because he/she doesn’t like you so what’s her stress?

    The hair you claim that only your husband must see, are you sure you haven’t had sex before and someone else have seen it who prolly won’t even marry you.

    • John

      December 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      To be fair , for some reason I beleive her as a virgin..I will be totally gobsmacked if she isn’t.

    • Different Shades of Nigerian

      December 17, 2017 at 12:43 am

      The fact that you have accepted all the abnormal things you listed here as normal is sad. It is even sadder that because this your normal, you want to fight those who refuse to accept abnormal things as their own normal. THIS is the problem with Nigeria

    • Lucinda

      December 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      You can’t use skirts for drills at NYSC camp. This is a small headscarf FFS. She’s not a construction engineer. No health & safety issues here whatsoever. And it looks neat. Even during hajj certain types of hijabs can’t be worn because of stampede risks, etc. This particular dress code is reasonable. Naija lawyers still go to court looking like King George III. What’s the noise about please?

  6. curious

    December 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Just wondering: would those deeper life girls who want to wear skirt during nysc be allowed to do so? I don’t have any problem with hijab. I am just worried that adjusting the rules to suit one persons preference/affiliation might trigger an unending debate.

  7. E.Jo

    December 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I like the courage to challenge status quo. It’s not just enough to say that’s the way it has been. She was brought up covering all her hair and the lawyer’s wig couldn’t do that for her. I really don’t give a damn whether or not hijab is approved. I’d love to see how interestingly things play out

  8. E.Jo

    December 16, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    @Crazy World:
    If we put up with so many wrong things it is our fault. Here is someone who has decided to stand up for something she believes. Whether or not she’s a virgin has nothing to do with this. The limits of the law are infinite and I’m simply excited seeing someone daring to stretch it.
    Good luck Firdaus!
    Quite a dramatic way to begin your Legal Career- activism!

    • CrazyWorld

      December 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      I didn’t talk about her being a virgin or not. This has nothing to do with her sexual experience. She said only her husband should see her hair and that’s what I am talking about.

  9. Oma Daniel

    December 16, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    As a lawyer, being called to the Nigerian Bar had its ups & down but we were told of every rule that had to be adhered to on the day. I was already called as a Solicitor in England and a Barrister in NewYork. So I wasn’t prepared for Nigeria to be honest but we get there.

    Firdaus we applaud you for your idea but you went about it the wrong way and anyone who tells you what you did was right isn’t giving you the right perspective on how to change a rule of law.

    The moment you checked your result and saw that you had passed you could have brought on a suit applying to be granted the right to wear your hijab. Trust me a lot of lawyers myself included would have supported you. I have Friends, colleagues, that are reverend sisters, vieled parishioners, should everyone seek to have their rights given to them at that immediate inquisition like you did just because?

    You probably didn’t do this for the attention but what you’re getting now will just be that ATTENTION. If you want to make a change seek it to right way. Remove religion & seek your rightful purpose. Don’t let anyone fool you, nothing will change this decision that will mock your intelligence.

    You could have brought a suit long ago & made a monumental account if it had been granted and gotten your day, young girls would have aspired and benefited from that courage but you went there and made a mockery of the institution you had toiled under for years.

    The whole sceen would have looked disrespectful and your family & your name being dragged around in mockery. I hope youre not defeated by this and I hope you get called next year but lets behave like the foreign yardsticks we’ve called upon on this case and just follow simple DUE PROCESS.

    DO WHAT’S RIGHT FIRST…

    • mimi

      December 16, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      my thoughts exactly. funny how your comment came up before mine. Thank you for stating it in clearer sentences.

  10. mimi

    December 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I don’t understand why people think to make a stand you have to go through the disobedience/disrespect route. It’s wrong and i believe its termed a sin too by holy books. Since you knew what would happen, you could have started this before even going to law school, or during law school, or before the call to bar, or after it. This method of bringing change is just not it. Not following set rules by authorities, we all are what is wrong with Nigeria

  11. Owoloja Idris

    December 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I think mallama Firdausi is right………

  12. GirlNextDoor

    December 16, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    How many hours were the ceremony?
    So her kind and merciful Allah would’ve sent her to hell for not wearing hijab for 5 hours at most when the wig would’ve covered her hair anyway?
    I know of a Muslim corporate lawyer. Because she doesn’t have to go to court, she wears her hijab to work every day and she doesn’t have to deal with any wahala. I asked her if she wore her hijab for the day she was being called to the bar and she said no because her relationship with Allah is bigger than a piece of fabric and that not wearing a hijab for a single day did not make her a bad Muslim.
    What about that Roman sister who didn’t wear her headpiece when she was being called to the bar? Are your ‘fundamental rights’ more important than hers?
    You knew what was going to happen and yet you risked being called to bar. All your years of study and hard work have come to nought because you ‘wanted to prove a point.’ To what end? Are you the only Muslim female lawyer? Are you a better Muslim than all the other Muslims who complied?
    It is only in this era of unnecessary political correctness that this will even be an issue.

  13. JOS BOY

    December 16, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Calm down people, just give it another 3 days and we will move on to something else. Nigerians have a short attention span, something will soon distract us from this olodo, and she will be left alone. One fool will now marry her and lock her up inside the house, lets see how she will go and practice the law.

    • Dr M.O lawal

      December 17, 2017 at 9:08 am

      it shows that it is Islam u hate, not really only fadahuse .. no matter of ur insult and any plot against her of Islam, the promise of creator will manifest. bf is too late for u guy. think better talk better. accept Islam

    • Anon

      December 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Thunder with hale stone and thorns with smoked paprika fire you.

  14. Susie

    December 17, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Hahaha! It is very funny o to see my fellow Nigerians talking plenty because someone refuses to wear an ugly blonde wig (which even the Europeans who introduced it to us have stopped wearing) .

    Meanwhile she is also vehemently insisting on wearing a Hijab (thanks to Arabs who indoctrinated our women to believe the height of modesty is wearing a hijab). By the way, you will never see other races vigorously defending foreign head coverings. Or when last did you see an Asian advocate for gele or and white insist on wearing an agbada cap? When I tell you Africans are lost….

    • Papermoon

      December 17, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      The LAWYERS are not complaining…..

    • Lola

      December 18, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Well you would only see other races do so if we had a history of dominating such races or societies or colonizing them like they did to African nations. It’d make more sense for you to argue for Africans to found their own rules regarding things like this imo

  15. Passerby

    December 17, 2017 at 2:06 am

    So many regressive thinkers on this thread it’s so disheartening. To worsen things bellanaija is screening comments and not allowing for a balanced and objective debate.
    This is petty and unproductive. The rule should emphasize that the barest minimum be that potential lawyers look professional and tidy. Why fuss over a hijab?? Seriously???

    Nigeria is a diverse society. Multifaith and multitribal…yet we are so bigoted and so intolerant towards each other. The hijab is doing no harm….so other than pettiness and bias this story is shamefully ridiculous.

    Our society should be an all inclusive one….we are holding on to the culture the white man who created it has dumped and progressed to better things….shame

  16. Ajala & Foodie

    December 17, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I don’t know where I stand on this because like some people have stated to give in to her based on religious grounds could lead to more arguments based on religious beliefs. I am a strong advocate of separation of religion and state, this is to do away with situations like this. Nevertheless, for those arguing that she should have gone about it the right way, I will say there are not many advocates for human rights that have succeeded in “doing it the right way”, even MLK, who was not an advocate of violence was not considered to have “done it the right way “ during his time, neither was Mandela who was barred from many countries during his time. There is no right or polite way to challenge the status quo anywhere. It is why we are still where we are today in Nigeria, busy looking for the right way to change things when the truth is with status quo there is not one. I.e you are most likely to be labeled a rebel like this lass. I am happy to see a Nigerian especially a lady stand up for what she believes, although I wish it was geared towards something else other than the hijab ?. Yea I doubt this is one she will win although a part of me still wants her to win despite the repercussions. One may not agree with how she stood for her beliefs but she is better than many of us who only complain and do nothing I.e given to lip service to challenge the status quo.

    • mimi

      December 17, 2017 at 5:55 am

      But what steps did she take before the day of the call to bar?. So you mean just show up and expect change? She’s suppose to be a lawyer. We can’t base all actions on what ifs. Follow the due process first and work from there, there’d be a record of the ‘trials and failures’ before this showdown. Encouraging this sorta behaviour won’t help build a stable society. Rules are rules, no matter how stupid or unfavourable, until a change is made.

    • Ajala & Foodie

      December 17, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      @ Mimi, do I get your point? maybe. Nevertheless, show me a revolution that brought about change that during its struggles and fight brought about a stable society. Challenging the status quo means shaking things up, stability and a shake up don’t take place at the same time or place. It is the fear of instability that has kept us with the current state of situation in our society. Until we realize that for things to change, instability is inevitable there will continue to be no change. It is why the coup in Turkey failed, the organizers were scared of instability where revolution has succeeded, a high level of instability is always recorded. Like I said I just wish it was something other than the hijab.

  17. Glory

    December 17, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Religious matter in Nigeria is a dicey issue, it could make or mar this legal institution. Thread carefully

  18. Poesy

    December 17, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I hear what you’re saying, @Oma Daniel and I agree that she could have gone through the legal route.
    However, I think it’s appalling that the NBA is really rigid in this sense. Her hijab does not obstruct the wig or any other part of her robes in any way. At the end of the day, the wig is on top of her head, no?
    What really is the issue here? Why can’t we embrace our diversity?

  19. E.Jo

    December 17, 2017 at 6:15 am

    @Oma Daniel and Mimi:
    I see your do-what-is-right-first view. But that approach is seldom the pathway to revolution. Call to Bar is a one time event and she wasn’t going to have a second chance to make her first impression. The lady has clearly stated her goal. And if you ask me she’s already gotten somewhere with that. At least she got us all talking about it.
    We need people like her in Nigeria of today. And like I said earlier hijab is not my personal concern but her guts.

  20. Bolu

    December 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    So I tried to not comment on this topic, I believe that yes Religion should be respected and as such the law should be amended, I dont know enough on how she addressed the issue to comment on it but I would like to know what other Muslim females have done before to be called to bar.
    Now from what I understand about Islam and the religion your hair and neck are major points to be covered (please correct me if I’m wrong) the bar attire seems to address this so I feel like the hijab might be over kill tbh- its the way i feel when I see people wear gele on top hijab like cant you wear it and put a scarf for your neck? Nothing against the hijab but i feel like it has now become a statement for religion as opposed to a symbol of humility and covering

  21. GANNY OGUNSHAKIN

    December 17, 2017 at 9:27 am

    You deserved what you get for not being called to the Nigeria bar. Now you can go and practice you law at the Sharia Court where you will fit in very well with your chosen dress code idiot. You’re surely not the first Muslim woman / student in Nigeria to have graduated from the University with a law degree. Why’re you so different?. No lawyer in Nigeria xshould dress looking like Mill mascara.. A word enough for the wise. I’m just saying.

  22. Josephine

    December 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I am patiently waiting for what comes next after this, so I can either go to camp and sew my NYSC skirt or get an exemption letter. Fingers crossed!

    • bolu

      December 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      I think you can my family is Deeper and my Mum deffo converted her trousers to skirt so think it can be done … this was over 25 years ago so i dont know about now sha.

      From the comments, Its so upsetting to know that Islamophobia is a real issue in Nigeria but many are hypocrites pretending to co workers that you like them. smh we even have a muslim president yet the bile that we spout

  23. Abba

    December 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I believe we all make choices and we want our choices to be respected some chose to sin some chose to be all sainty. We all have a life we want to live a free happy life and I think it doesn’t matter if she wears a hijab or not besides it’s not her choice Islam made it compulsory for her some Muslim women chose to not wear hijab nobody cares some chose to and that’s when everybody cares?

  24. Las

    December 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    The Law is reason, free from passion. Religion really has no place in the arena of man-made/secular laws. In countries like Malaysia and Saudi where the laws are based on the religious books, a lawyer wearing a hijab would make sense. Nigeria is a secular state.

  25. Poesy

    December 18, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Nigeria is a secular state indeed. A country whose presidential candidates seek ‘holy’ blessings from this or that GO. A country where every event begins and ends with opening and closing prayer. Try again.

  26. stacy_kema

    December 18, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Muslims hmm

  27. zzzzzzzzzzz

    December 18, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Reminds me of when we were in secondary school, the muslims don’t use cutlery it is against their religion so whenever there is a cutlery inspection you pass them. They do not sing the prayer thanking God for the meal even when Jesus is not mentioned in the song. Same thing happened in youth camp and some refused wearing the T shirt and white shorts all in the name of religion. Lady Fiidraus I wonder why you had to do this if you know this would cause a frenzy? Attention seeking, I don’t think so. I feel it has more to do with looking for grounds to disobey and be rebellious

  28. Sisi

    December 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    A lot of people (Nigerians) simply will not be able to relate to what this young lady did. This is not to say I agree with what she did. There is seemingly no material gain that she gets from this, in fact she has sacrificed something great but she is standing for something without impacting (no blood shed) others in a negative way. Nigerian people do not understand this – as a religious country we have rules and regulations but no actual individual principles that drive people’s actions aside money, power and culture.

  29. Anonymous

    December 18, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    My only question is, WHY MUST SOME GROUP OF PEOPLE ALWAYS CHOOSE TO BRING RELIGION INTO EVERY EQUATION FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!!!!!!

    HABA nowwwwwww, there’s a time and place to demonstrate our beliefs, convictions, et al naaaaaaa!!!
    Laws are laws and rules are rules for Pete’s sake!!!!

    Sad thing is when people try to correct or reason with these set of individuals, they begin to rave and rant their belief/religion is being attacked or people hate them and begin to hurl insults and curses.
    Meanwhile they fail woefully in following due process to make their point known or clear!!

    Truly I can’t deal………. this is so ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!

  30. tunmi

    December 18, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    1. That wig is ugly and isn’t even ours to begin with. Can we do away with that?
    2. I hope she takes this matter to court
    3. The responses I have read to this has been very Nigerian. Things don’t change because we are either too scared to do something or we like things as they are. This was a small action on her part yet I’ve seen people call her out of her name. You would think she burnt her maid or something.

    Like @Oma Daniel said, there is no right way to protest. Insulting her and claiming she wants special privileges is sad. We have been conditioned to accept things as they are, especially the bad. She hasn’t caused harm to anyone yet people are calling for her head.

    For riling Nigerians up, I applaud her. For reminding me yet again that Nigerians deserve their government, I applaud her.

    The dress code is restrictive and can be challenged in a court of law but we are too stuck on the fact that a woman dares defy a law…without causing harm to person or property.

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