In the wake of the hijabophobic incidence that occurred during the JAMB Mock Examination, in which some hijab wearing candidates were denied entry into the examination venue at the Covenant University, on the 30th of March, 2023, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), wrote a petition to the JAMB office (twice), insisting on securing the rights of the victims and sanctions against the erring University. This elicited a response from JAMB, summarised below:
1) JAMB wrote to the Centre Administrator of Covenant University on the 31st of March, requesting for an explanation of the unfortunate incidence.
2) Covenant University replied on the 3rd of April 2023, that the candidates were not denied entry because they wore hijabs but rather, due to ‘security lapses’. And when the information got to the Centre’s Administrator, they were allowed into the University premises and the examination hall. The University also claimed other hijab wearing candidates had earlier been allowed in.
3) JAMB responded to the University by sharing video and photo evidences already provided by complainants, showing otherwise. Also, those that were allowed in, had to remove their hijabs before gaining entry.
Again, the University was reminded of the law according to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, stating respect for equality before the law, dignity of human person and freedom from discrimination for all citizens. JAMB therefore insisted, that the Vice Chancellor of Covenant University should address the facts on the issue.
4) Covenant University seeing no other way around this, was forced to apologize saying the erring security personnels were newly employed and acted in contravention of the University policy, ideas and ethos. Also, in the same breathe, the letter stated that the candidates were never asked to remove their hijab as a condition for entry.
However, the candidates could not take the Mock Examination again because the accreditation exercise had ended. (End of Summary)
Worthy of note are the following:
- We appreciate JAMB’s robust response to this issue, including a clear instruction to report any issues relating to hijab discrimination at any of it’s accredited CBT centres nationwide, to a dedicated desk (see link below).
- That the reluctant apology was tendered only to JAMB and not the affected candidates, who in fact are the main victims, in the same way that Covenant University is the main culprit, not the security personnel. Covenant University did not immediately issue a press release or address the public on the day of the incident, or immediately after, to dissociate itself from the actions of the “security personnel”
- We reiterate that Covenant University, under the guidance of its founder, Bishop Oyedepo, is an active incubation center for promoting religious hatred, and specifically Islamophobia. There is no way anyone will be primed with so much anti-Muslim diatribes and pure hate messages from his pulpit that the person will not have animosity towards Islam and discriminate against Muslims. His Church sermons, many times, had been used as a production factory for hate speeches directed against Islam and Muslims. The security personnel may in fact be the triggermen, but someone handed them the guns!
- In our response to JAMB’s report on this issue, we have urged it to be vigilant against specific incidents of anti-Muslim biases, strengthen its policy on making its examination period entirely free of religious discrimination and to prescribe sanctions against violation of freedom of religious practices.
Islamophobia is a societal ill that requires dedication and collaboration to get rid off. The Nigerian Constitution promises all citizens the same rights, which includes the rights to dignity, respect, freedom of religion and a society free of discrimination. Assault on the rights of any member of the society is an attack on the rights of all, as such an assault defaces the society and misrepresents the people we are.
We urge anyone facing religious discrimination in school, workplace or anywhere else to report it.
To report any form of religious discrimination to MPAC, contact us through any of our platforms or our social media pages.
Where possible, remember to get picture/video evidence.
Email : reportIt@mpac-ng.org
Phone number: +234 909 999 MPAC (+234 909 999 6722)
Facebook: MPAC Nigeria
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