The Presidency has denied speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari has banned the use of hijab, which it describes as Muslim women’s dressing symbol of modesty.
The denial was contained in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Friday.
President Buhari had during his maiden presidential media chat Wednesday, said that “Hijab would have to be banned if suicide bombing continues”.
The statement drew flaks from a cross-section of Nigerians, particularly the Muslim community, with some Muslim groups condemning Mr. Buhari for insinuating that a ban on the continued wearing of the hijab may be considered if Boko Haram continues to use female suicide bombers dressed in the Muslim apparel.
But in the statement yesterday, the Presidency, while clarifying the pronouncement, described as unfounded, the speculation that the Federal Government had banned the use of hijab.
Mr. Shehu said that Buhari’s administration would always respect the rights of Muslims to protect their modesty and allow religious freedom as it affects everyone.
He, however, pointed out that hijab was being abused by Boko Haram terrorists to carry out suicide attacks on innocent people, stating this violates the teachings of Islam.
According to the presidential aide, Mr. Buhari would not take any decision on the issue without due consultation with all the stakeholders.
He said: “Everything will be done to balance national security requirements with the rights and obligations of citizens under their religions as protected by the constitution”.
He also stressed that the increasing abuse of the “hijabby terrorists” to perpetrate criminal mass murder and other atrocities, was a reality.
Shehu added that Buhari’s government would address the security challenge in consultations with Muslim leaders with a view to finding a workable solution.