Media Reportage Of Firdaus Amasa’s Hijab Victory: Knocks, Praises

Surprisingly, the Firdaus (also spelt as Firdausa) Amasa Al-Jannah Hijab victory, which was received with joy by all lovers of truth and haters of oppression – Muslims and Christians alike – did not make the covers of Nigerian newspapers of Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Following the development, Dr Joe Abah, a public affairs analyst, tweeted thus: “Congratulations to Amasa Firdaus who has now been called to the Nigerian Bar with her Hijab. I am proud to have stood on the side of honour in her case. I am proud that I don’t bay with the mob or run with the herd. The truth will always prevail.”

Ms Amasa was among the 1,562 successful candidates that were called to Bar at the July 10, 2018 ceremony held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.

Ms Amasa, a graduate of Law from the University of Ilorin, was denied access to the Call to Bar venue in December 2017 over her refusal to remove her Hijab, a mandatory attire for every mature Muslim lady, worn beneath her wig.

The news dominated the media landscape for a long while and generated spontaneous reactions from the Muslim community, while various trending hashtags such as #JusticeForFirdaous and #IStandWithFirdaous spread like wildfire.

The House of Representatives waded into Barrister Firdaus case by setting up a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to her controversial Call to Bar denial by the Nigerian Law School over the removal of the Hijab, a compulsory apparel for Muslim women.

The move by the House of Representatives to conduct public hearings on two different occasions on the issue were stopped by seven Christian lawyers under the aegis of Coalition of Lawyers for the Preservation of Legal Practitioners’ Ethics, who filed a suit and got a restraining order from the Abuja High Court.

Seven months later, however, unlike the denial story which went viral and dominated the media for weeks, the Council of Legal Education’s decision to call Ms Amasa to Bar with her Hijab on during the week did not grace the covers of major Nigerian newspapers.

Ms Amasa’s story was conspicuously missing on the covers of the national newspapers.

However, only Nigerian Tribune and New Telegraph found it worthy to give her story a cover mention, beneath their nameplates, with the headlines: “Law School calls Firdaus Amasa, 1561 others to bar” and “Hijab-wearing lady, 1561 candidates called to bar” respectively.

Nigerian Muslims were, however, not surprised about the development, as many of them already took to social media (Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp) to rejoice with Barrister Firdaus, who they described as a courageous fighter for justice.

When contacted, Elder Yinka Salaam, a veteran journalist, responded thus: “No rational daily or media outfit whatsoever should have ignored a story of such prominence, with local and international significance. This is one story that has forced a team of lawyers who claimed to be defending the sanctity of the law profession to the law court. This is also the same story that has brought the judiciary and the National Assembly into collision, thereby preventing the House of Representatives from holding a public hearing.

“Except blinded by rapacious bigotry and corrosive sentiments, what else would have determined the news judgment of an editor when a volatile story that had practically pitched Muslims and Christians against each other is resolved in a unique way, dousing the tension all the way?

“This is an incident that has attracted the attention of international media outfits and threatened to further polarise us in an already fragile nation.

“More so, if Amasa’s story that had virtually turned Nigeria’s legal profession into a laughing stock internationally got resolved in such an amiable manner, it is only logical that the same fervour, vigour and zeal displayed during the Hijab denial, the court case and the public hearing should equally be displayed here.”

Dr Qasim Akinreti, the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), in his reaction,  said the fact that some major newspapers did not give the story prominence on their covers is inconsequential.

According to him, “A news is a news. A story is a story, even if it is a two-paragraph story. Once it has been highlighted, the mission is actualised. If you Google Firdaus Amasa’s Call to Bar story, you would surely see considerable results. Her picture in the Hijab would also appear. That alone is an achievement. I am fulfilled.”

The multi-media journalism lecturer said Muslims should understand media dynamism, adding that, “At the time the Amasa story broke, the media already had other newsworthy items, mostly for their cover pages. Don’t get me wrong, Amasa’s story is also newsworthy, but, it is the newspaper that would determine which story would lead the paper.”

Akinreti commended the broadcast media for their objective reporting of Firdausa’s Call to Bar ceremony.

He said: “The broadcast media did a wonderful job. It was the major headline of Channels TV and TVC, and Firdaus’ face in the Hijab was prominent. That to me alone has taken the shine off others, including the mainstream media.” He concluded by urging Muslims to invest more in the media.

The post Media Reportage Of Firdaus Amasa’s Hijab Victory: Knocks, Praises appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

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Author: Rasheed Abubakar