LAUTECH: Academic activities disrupted over alleged assault on hijab-wearing nursing student by Dean, what actually happened

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Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, was thrown into pandemonium today as Muslim students and other Muslim faithful stormed the streets of the campus in protest against what was described as an overzealous action by the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Professor Ajibade Bayo Lawal.
According to the aggrieved protesters, Professor Lawal allegedly removed the hijab of a female nursing student of the LAUTECH Open and Distance Learning Centre (LODLC) during an orientation programme in preparation for their exams at a TETFund built amphitheatre in the university yesterday, Wednesday, November 17.

Prof Ajibade Bayo Lawal addressing the LODLC nursing students
Cross section of the students

The protesters demanded that the Dean tenders an unreserved apology for his “affront.”
Gates to the institution were locked by the protesters thus lecturers and students were disallowed from entering the school; used tyres were burnt and there was tension throughout the period.
However, a video provided by the organizers of the event and watched by revealed a version slightly different from what was bandied.
In the video, Prof Lawal emphasized he was not one that would compromise on bastardizing the nursing profession through allowing unapproved dressing.
He reminded the audience that he was a core Muslim but that he could be fanatical about upholding the tenets of the nursing profession in respect of the code of dressing asserting that this must be adhered to strictly both during exams (towards bagging nursing certificates) and as a professional.
Lawal, who was formerly the cordinator, Nursing Science programme at LODLC submitted that the faculty would adhere to this as approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) during the forthcoming exams of the LODLC students adding that students must dress properly and that female students wearing hijab in forms at variance with the ethical standards or any man grooming untrimmed beards would not be allowed to sit for the exams.
He informed further that as a practicing nurse hijab must be worn shoulder length and must be tucked in at the neck.
Justifying this he explained that people must be able to identify that a nurse is a nurse but that if someone is in purdah no one would be able to recognize she is a nurse.
To demonstrate his resolve he beckoned some women in hijab to come to the front of the hall, stating that by the time the exam starts they should be in their approved uniforms and that anyone that would use hijab must ensure it is shoulder length and must be tucked in.
He then brought out a lady in purdah saying such could not be allowed during the exams.
He also summoned a young man who grew a long beard to the front and disproved the appearance.
Professor Lawal was blunt while affirming that all what he said was within the purview of the ethics of the profession and could be quoted anywhere.
“A lot of things happened when we started this programme and we don’t want anything that will make us regret starting it,” he had begun his address.
He further dropped: “There is the Council prescription in terms of dressing (uniform) during exams and as a practitioner. Please, respect that uniform. LAUTECH nursing is noted for this uniform.
“I am a Muslim, core one. When you cover your face l won’t allow you to write the exams. Go and report me to Imam l will not allow you to take the exams. Because nursing council has prescribed way of dressing. And when you are going to exam hall you don’t use your hijab over your uniform.
“When you are going for lecture you can go to the class like this (wearing hijab or in purdah). But when you are in your uniform and you wear your hijab covering your face, l won’t allow you to sit for exam. Don’t dress like this. Anyone that flouts this will be sent out.
“Don’t say you have never heard, l am saying it now, it won’t be allowed. If you are in your uniform, identify whom you are and when you put on your uniform the nursing council says the hijab must be shoulder length but your uniform identifies whom you are.
“And those of you that have grown beard and your beard is like that of Osama Bin Laden you won’t take the exam. You must trim your beard so that when people look at you they will say yes, this is a nurse.
“Now what is the Council’s aspiration about the use of hijab? It is allowed but should be shoulder length and you tuck it in. Quote me l am Ajibade Bayo Lawal, tell the Council.
“I am not as bad as some of you might have assumed but l don’t compromise. I don’t compromise dressing. I am a Muslim. My father is an Imam and the 24 of us who are his children are. When you are in Rome, you do like Romans, give Caesar what is Caesar’s.
“I don’t play with anything nursing, if you want to bastardize nursing l won’t allow it, l will fight it. Do you know l was accused of bastardizing nursing because of the LODLC programme. I beg you to abide by the prescription. Don’t malign anybody,” he said while going ahead to give his mobile line and e-mail address to the students.
He stressed that any student who might have any challenge regarding any issue could reach out to him via the line and address.
Also present at the orientation programme were the Director of the LODLC, Prof Tayo Arulogun; Board Secretary, Mrs. Victoria Olojede; Head, e-tutors, Nursing Science programme, Mr Zacheus Oyewumi and other staff members.
In the meantime the university authorities headed by the Vice Chancellor Professor Mojeed Liasu had constituted a panel to probe the alleged infraction.
Meanwhile, calls made by to the mobile line of Prof Lawal did not go through as it repeatedly uttered “switched off.”

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