Rights Group Addresses Issue Of Muslim Veil User Brutalized In Ogun
A masquerade used to depict the story/File

The Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) have reacted to the news of a Muslim woman (full veil user) who was allegedly harassed by a masquerade in Abeokuta in Ogun State recently.

Concise News understands that the woman was widely reported to have been stripped off her Niqab (face veil) by the masquerade in humiliating fashion.

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In a statement signed by Soliu Luqman, the group’s President and seen by this online news medium on Thursday, RIFA condemns the incident in its entirety while stressing that “since the family affected has no more interest (in the case), we have surrendered, but (will) take other diplomatic steps to avert similar experience in the future.”

Find full statement below:

The Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) hereby use this medium to set the record straight on the news headline above in some sections of the media. RIFA appreciate the journalists who disseminated the news but need to say the facts of the matter to allay the fear of the public. We were actually informed on the evening of Sunday, June 9, 2019, that an incident happened at Adedotun area of Abeokuta.

The RIFA members who got the information went to the area and confirmed what happened after which the association President was briefed. However, the President was holding another meeting with some people when the information came and a meeting was fixed for Subuhi of June 10, 2019. At a quarter to 6 in the morning, the three brothers came and prayed Subuhi at the President’s area mosque with other members of the mosque.

Immediately after the prayer, the meeting started and what transpired was relayed. From the reports directly from the sister; Mrs Fatimah Bakene and her husband; Mr Muhammad Bakene, it was reported that the sister who was on a bike at the time the masquerade misbehaved had her Okada man slowed down to allow the masquerade leave the road. However, rather than leave the road the report had it that the masquerade clamped on the sister and hugged her on the bike while the followers hailed him.

Immediately, the incident occurred and the brothers took action by reporting to the Administration (Admin) officer of Enugada Police Station which is the police station under which the area falls, the Admin officer informed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the DPO immediately acted by inviting the leaders (Alagbaa) of the masquerade. The Alaagba of Gbagura was said to have been first invited and he was said to have denied that the area where the incident happened falls under his jurisdiction. Then the Oke-Ona Egba masquerade leaders were said to have been invited as the place falls under their jurisdiction.

It should be noted that the sister’s husband initially didn’t know the import of what was done to his wife until informed brothers explained to him and he then reported to the DPO to ensure the masquerade was arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. However, the leaders of the masquerade have been moving from one Alfa to the other to ensure the matter was resolved. The man was eventually arrested and detained.

However, the sister’s husband exhibited magnanimity at the end when he opted for the release of the masquerade on the condition that he writes undertaking not to repeat the same. So, on the evening of June 11, 2019, the man was reported to have been released. However, since the time RIFA was informed and action taken which even led to the delay in the release of the masquerade till the evening of Tuesday 11 June 2019 in line with the RIFA request, it should be noted that further action is still being taken to avoid same experience in the nearest future.

The community leaders are now involved in the matter and the case is seriously receiving the attention it desires. We shall continue to ensure no abuse of any human being is allowed when informed and readiness to seek redress is exhibited. The masquerade too knew the situation he went through within the 48 hours of his misdemeanour but since the family affected has no more interest, we have surrendered but take other diplomatic steps to avert similar experience in the future.