We at Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative got a distress call this morning at 07:25 am from the father of a candidate Mr AA Olayode, that his daughter and several other candidates wearing Hijab were denied from entering Covenant University Ota, Ogun State, their CBT centre for the Mock Jamb examinations.
He stated that he tried to explain to the security guards that as a National Examination, candidates where posted there by the examination body and thus should be allowed to write their exams.
The security guards inisited that the University being a Christian University does not permit Hijabs in their premises and as such the candidates could not enter. Some candidates removed their Hijabs inorder to gain entry, while Maryam the daughter of Mr Olayode and two others who did not remove their Hijab were denied entry.
Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative swung into action and contacted JAMB immediately. The Centre coordinator at Covenant University CBT centre was contacted and he joined the denied candidates at the gate and promptly let them in.
The exam started at 7 am and the candidates were let in at 7:48am. As at the time if this report, we are not clear if candidates could eventually write their CBT exams after being denied entry for about an hour or if they’ll be given extra time to complete same, given that this is a computerized exam which is automated.
We at Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative find it necessary to reiterate that the Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion is a fundamental right as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution as amended and the Hijab is a practical application of this right as ruled by the Supreme Court judgment of Asiyat Abdulkareem vs Lagos State Government.
It is important that institutions that do not wish to conform to the JAMB guidelines on conduct of National Examinations should refrain from applying to be CBT centres as they are remunerated for performing this service.
While we thank JAMB for acting promptly and avoiding a religious crises especially in this fragile period of our country, we ask that such erring centres be de-registered to and opportunity given to more deserving and law abiding ones.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative
30 March 2023