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Hijab and The Body of Benchers


By Ugo Egbujo

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) She has a right to wear a Hijab. She can even wear a burqua. The Body of Benchers is within its right to prescribe a dress code too.

 Its prescription can also be challenged.
On that morning she knew the dress code. The NBA president’s argument about America is flawed. American lawyers don’t wear wigs. A standing dress code is a regulation a new wig cannot flout without immediate consequences.
The Benchers were right to exclude her. 
It is not a good argument that the British police allows hijabs in uniform. That is the rule in England.  The call to bar  dress tradition is a rule and shouldn’t be flouted with impunity. 
If she did it to challenge the code then she didn’t expect to be called to the bar that day. Those are the hazards of activism. She has generated a debate. The Benchers would now consider if Hijab can be allowed.
Let it not degenerate into a religious squabble. The Body of Benchers is not a christian body. There are good arguments for an overhaul of the inherited  colonial  legal  dress code and legal  language.
 No one likes all the bombastic  latin in Nigerian legal system. 
But whenever you break a standing rule willfully , you must take its little concomitant  sanction quietly. No one is morally compelled to obey all laws and codes. You are expected to examine them morally. You can refuse to obey a rule to draw attention to its flawed character. That  patriotic duty wouldn’t excuse you from sanctions.  
After she has been punished , I would think that the Hijab is allowed subsequently. I think Burqua should be allowed too. I understand the concerns that they constitute political statements. But that should be in France and not in Nigeria. In Nigeria , they are dress styles. 
I think  female soldiers should be allowed to wear it too. Its beautiful. One day male lawyers would be allowed to wear jalabiyas in the court room too.

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