The investigative hearing by the House of Representatives joint committee on Justice and Judiciary was on Wednesday marred by protest, forcing the joint committee to suspend indefinitely the controversial hijab probe.
The protests was carried out by the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC) against a court order stopping the investigation into the controversy between the Nigerian Law School and a law school graduate during the recently call to the bar ceremony held in Abuja.
The protest erupted following the ruling by the Chairman of the joint committee, Rep. Abdulrasak Atunwa, who announced that the indefinite suspension of the hearing based on a court injunction.
Before suspending the hearing, Rep. Atunwa had apologised to stakeholders who had thronged the venue of the hearing.
Displaying a copy of the court order issued by Justice Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and signed by Ben Mulokwu, as registrar, the lawmaker said that the committee was obliged to suspend the hearing in order to allow the suit filed by Adeniyi Ojo and seven others to be determined.
However, a member of the committee, Rep. Bode Ayorinde questioned the right of the court to intervene in a parliamentary proceeding.
Rep. Ayorinde argued that the bill of rights which covers the legality of actions by each arm of government empowers the parliament to carry out investigations into matters of public importance in line with the constitution.
“By virtue of the existence of the Bill of Rights, the committee can go ahead and conduct the hearing, but having been approached by the chairman over this, I would want to defer to him on the basis of the need to respect judicial pronouncements with a view to protecting the system just as we wouldn’t like the institution of the legislature to be disobeyed.”
But the ruling by the committee chairman did not go down well with the Muslim faithful present at the hearing whose protest was spearheaded by the president of MURIC, Isaq Akintola.
Speaking during the protest, Akintola said they will resist any attempt to stop hijab by authorities of the law school, adding that “an injury to one of them is an injury to all Muslims in the country.”
Briefing newsmen later, Akintola said those who went to court to obtain the frivolous injunction against the hearing are afraid of the truth because they have no point to prove or argue.
According to him, Amasa Firduasi, who was stopped by the law school authorities for her wearing of the hijab should be called to bar like every other lawyer in her graduation year.
“Amasa remains a heroine and as such has our support 110 per cent”, he said, adding that the case may continue to suffer further kangaroo injunctions.
The group affirmed that justice delayed is justice denied, insisting that Amasa Firduas, the law graduate in question, must be called to the bar without further delay.
They also urged the committee to disregard the issue of public hearing and focus on working with the 87 memoranda so far received.