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Nigeria: Students' Fatwa On Lecturer

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    Tension Grips ABU, Muslim Students Pronounce Fatwa On Lecturer Agaju Madugba (Lagos) May 2, 2005 http://allafrica.com/stories/200505021053.html Kaduna The
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2005
      Tension Grips ABU, Muslim Students Pronounce Fatwa On Lecturer
      Agaju Madugba
      May 2, 2005


      The stage appears set at the weekend for a fresh religious upheaval
      at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. A lecturer at the
      Faculty of Law, Mr. Andrew Akume, was forced into hiding, following
      a Fatwa (Islamic death sentence) which a section of Muslim students
      at the school pronounced on him.

      The development engendered palpable tension at the institution's two
      campuses located at Samaru and Kongo.

      Akume who is a member of the University Senate as well as Assistant
      Dean of the Faculty of Law, allegedly walked out a female student
      from the class having failed to remove a hijab she was wearing which
      covered her entire face.

      The Fatwa order and circular tagged "the resolutions" by concerned
      Muslims Move-ment accused Akume of "assault on Muslim sisters and
      blasphemy against Allah and Islam".

      A second notice circulated by the same group further warned
      that, "our earlier Fatwa holds and it is a time bomb which will
      explode in a few days time; we are not a people who fight without
      due notice.

      "Akume has spent nothing less than 10 years insulting our religion,
      attacking our values, blaspheming our Prophet, victimizing our
      brethren and making the Faculty of Law a hell for Muslims."

      But in his petition to the ABU Vice Chancellor over the issue, Akume
      denied the blashphemy allegation explaining that Law students were
      expected to adhere to a dress code as prescribed by the Council of
      Legal Education of the Nigerian Law School.

      According to him, "I have also not and never assaulted nor asked any
      Muslim girl not to wear the hijab. Infact, the Dean instructed that
      we allow the wearing of hijab but that it should reveal the face and

      "This is what we are enforcing and nothing more. I am being accused
      of provoking Muslims because I am obeying the Dean's instruction to
      advise that the hijab should reveal the face, which some Muslims
      disagree with.

      "The allegation of religious bias against Muslims or Islam is just a
      smokescreen being used by some persons in the present administration
      (of ABU) who want their pound of flesh for what they suffered in our
      hands during the 2003/2004 ASUU-ABU management crisis."

      The Benue State Govern-ment has already written the Kaduna State
      Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, demanding adequate protection for
      Akume who is an indigene of Benue State.

      According to the letter signed by Benue State Deputy Governor, Chief
      Ogiri Ajene, "though the matter may sound more like a campus or an
      academic affair, the fears are that if over-looked or not attended
      to, the situation has the potential of degenerating into serious
      crisis with the possibility of unnecessary loss of lives and

      The ABU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Shehu U. Abdullahi, said the
      authorities had taken appropriate action on the matter.

      According to him, "a committee is investigating the matter and both
      sides will be given ample opportunity to present their cases so that
      justice will be done to all. The police are fully aware of the
      situation and, as usual, we have confidence they have taken all
      necessary measures to protect lives and property. The dress code
      from the Council of Legal Education as it affects female students
      prescribes "white blouse, dark jacket and black skirts covering the
      knees (dark suit) or dark lady's dress and black shoes are to be

      "Dresses should be clean and decently sewn. There should be no
      embroidery and trimmings of any type and only moderate jewelry (ear-
      rings and watches) are to be worn.

      "During hot weather, students may be permitted to wear white shirts
      with ties and dark trousers and black shoes, to class. Ladies can
      wear simple dresses or skirts and native attire may be allowed only
      to lectures and private social functions."




      Death Threat: Group Appeals to Varsity Students
      From Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
      This Day

      A group known as Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN),
      has called on Muslim Students at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,
      under the aegis of Muslim Students Association, to drop the death
      threat it allegedly places on a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Mr
      Andrew Akume.

      The group, in a statement signed by its National Publicity
      Secretary, Joy Omateyi Imeli, said Nigeria has suffered so many
      religious, ethnic and political violence, which had led to loss of
      many lives and properties.

      There were reports yesterday of growing tension at the University,
      following a death threat put on Akume by the Muslim students, who
      said he walked a fellow student out of class for putting on a hijab.

      The death order, said to have been issued after a meeting by
      concerned Muslim students, alleged the lecturer of "assault on
      Muslim sisters and blasphemy against Allah and Islam.

      FEHN said issuing a death threat is not the best solution to the
      matter, adding that "Islam is a religion of peace and abhors

      "The Muslim students should have a re-think on the Fatwa
      pronouncement, because such statements and actions could lead to
      reprisal attacks or actions, which are not healthy for the growth
      and development of the nation in general and ABU in particular,
      considering the numerous closures the school has experience as a
      result of various crisis," it said.

      The statement noted that the country would be a better place if
      people adopts dialogue in sorting out their differences, rather than
      recourse to violence.

      Akume who is a member of the University Senate and Assistant Dean of
      the Faculty of Law, is said to have gone into hiding. The matter has
      attracted the attention of Benue State government, where the
      lecturer hails from. Reports say Benue State Governor, George Akume,
      had already written to his Kaduna State counterpart , Alhaji Ahmed
      Makarfi, urging him to intervene in the case.




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