Saturday, April 26, 2014
Assault On the Rule of Law at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos
(Lagos, 24/04/2014) Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) today expresses deep concern over the escalation of the case of the two victims of discrimination at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos (NOHIL) by the termination of employment yesterday of the two victims of discrimination by the management of NOHIL. In the last few weeks, two nursing staff of the hospital, Mrs Fasilat Olayinka Lawal and Miss Sekinat Sanusi, both wearing shoulder length hijab, were subjected to cruel and degrading treatments by some of the senior nurses of the hospital- simply because of their choice to wear the hijab at work. By its latest action, NOHIL and the hospital management continue to show aggression against the victims and unrestrained and unaccountable hostility towards the Islamic faith. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) prescribes a standard uniform for all nurses in Nigeria and in its circular of 11th February, 2002 (reference number N&MCN/CMF/721/1/3), it unambiguously specifies that "female nurses” may “wear either a Nurse cap or a shoulder length hyjab”. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria is a parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria established by Act Cap. No143 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and the Council is the only regulatory body for all cadres of Nurses and Midwives in Nigeria. As law-abiding citizens that were working hard and doing a good job, the victims had approached the court to secure their rights, and to obtain injunction against further actions by the management of the NOHIL. It is therefore shocking that NOHIL’s reaction to these sisters positive example is to flagrantly disregard the court’s explicit order and continue to demonstrate hostility and tyranny. The dismissive attitude of the National Orthopedic Hospital Igbobi towards our judiciary system illustrates once again the unhealthy culture within the hierarchy of the hospital management and their resolve to scandalize the court. The sisters will continue to demand justice, and the resolve of the Muslim community to stand with them is only strengthened by this latest act of aggression. As these sisters continue to seek justice by all lawful means, MPAC honours them and their empowering stance. The decision to sack victims of discrimination is not only oppressive towards the victims, it is another stain on the history of NOHIL. Tyranny of employers, public and private, highlights the need for our lawmakers to do the right things and make laws that will criminalise discrimination on the basis of religions. We encourage other Muslims in a similar situation to step forward and report/take lawful actions against any employer that is forcing them to have to choose between their religion and work. Finally, MPAC urges all Islamic organizations, mosques, Imams, human right groups and all individuals who cherish and value our collective aspiration to live in an inclusive society to lend their prayers and supports to these latest victims of discrimination against religion.