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The Nigerian House of Representatives is considering a bill seeking to compel the Armed Forces and paramilitary organisations to permit female officers to wear Islamic veil, commonly known as hijab.
The bill, known as the Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2020, which has passed second reading at the House, was sponsored by the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Member representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, Saidu Abdullahi.
Article 13 of the bill titled, ‘Discrimination in employment in security and other sectors,’ prohibits the military from discriminating against anyone wearing a hijab.
Although the bill does not propose any fine or jail term for persons who discriminate against persons wearing hijab, it states that anyone who contravenes the section would have committed an offence.
It further states that the High Court will have original jurisdiction on such matters while the National Human Rights Commission shall have the power either on its own motion or upon a petition presented by an aggrieved person to investigate allegations of any violation of the provisions of the Bill within a reasonable time of not more than 30 days.