In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

(Lagos, 23/04/2024)

Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC, is deeply appreciative of the prompt action taken by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to address an incident of discrimination against a candidate in hijab on Friday 19th April, 2024, during the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The incident occurred at a JAMB-accredited center located at Ile-Iwe Bus-Stop, Ejigbo, Lagos State. The affected Muslim candidate, Aisha Tiamiyu, was forced to remove her hijab to write the UTME in disobedience to the rules of JAMB. In an earlier incident last year involving Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State during the mock-UTME held on March 30th, 2023, JAMB had written to MPAC to clarify its policy on this issue following a petition submitted to JAMB to highlight the plights of the Muslim candidates at the examination centre in the University, and demand for justice for the affected candidates.

Days after JAMB sanctioned some of its staff that were involved in the Ejigbo incident, another case of violation of Muslim candidates’ rights was recorded at Duntro High School, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos, (on Monday, April 22) where Muslim students were prevented from accessing the examination halls, unless they removed their headscarves or caps. At Peakan International School, Ikenne, Ogun State Muslim candidates were also subjected to harassments by JAMB officials which led to removal of their hijabs, showing how widespread this malpractice is becoming.

It is distressing to note that these criminal behaviours by JAMB officials and workers at accredited examination centres persist despite clear directives by JAMB, and many public, including legal, pronouncements on this issue. While MPAC commends the swift intervention of the JAMB authority to prevent the escalation and immediately sanctioned the erring officials involved in the first case involving Aisha Tiamiyu on Friday, April 19th, 2024, it is now most important for JAMB to recognize this criminal behavior amongst its own officials as a manifestation of Islamophobia present in our society, and as such do more to stop it festering. As demonstrated above Aisha’s case was not isolated, it was in fact the first of many. Students cannot be preparing to write examination under a climate of intolerance and fear of discrimination. Aside the psychological consequences of such a situation, it is a flagrant violation of the students constitutional rights to freely practice their religion, and this is a right JAMB has a mandate to secure for them as a body set up by the law of the land.

MPAC now repeats its calls to JAMB to increase its awareness programmes amongst its staff and accredited agents around the country, allocate more resources to monitor compliance and enhance the regime of sanctions against violators and offenders for noncompliance with the aim of enforcing its policy on non-discrimination based on religious grounds. The determination of exclusion and discrimination against Muslim candidates year after year at JAMB examination centres is now very fact-driven, and all hands must be on deck to address it as a scourge. In addition, we urge JAMB to establish a hotline for candidates to report exclusion and discrimination at any examination centre, and assign competent resources to the call centres to take immediate and appropriate actions.

Being a visible Muslim woman is not a crime, and everyone’s religious rights must be respected.


Disu Kamor
Executive Chairman
Muslim Public Affairs Centre

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