Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has placed a ban on the use of full-face veils.
The sub regional body said the measure was aimed at checkmating the growing number of Boko Haram female suicide bombers in some of the affected states.
The measure was part of the resolution reached at the end of the two-day ECOWAS summit, which ended in Abuja, Nigeria, yesterday.
ECOWAS President, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, at the end of the summit advised that sub-regional leaders should enforce the ban in line with their national realities, stressing that the move would forbid dress that prevents security personnel from being able to identify women.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that Congo Republic, Senegal and Cameroon have already banned the wearing of full-face veils in public.
It would be recalled that since the middle of this year, Boko Haram terrorists have consistently used young women and girls as suicide bombers by hiding explosives in their loose-fitting clothes.
According to Osman Mohammed, a professor of political science at Kaduna State University, Nigeria, who spoke on the issue, said the ban may be met with resistance, particularly from conservative Muslim groups, at the same time, the right to exercise one’s religion must go hand in hand with security concerns for the public.
“It will have some social, political dimensions. Socially, culturally and religiously, predominantly Muslims wear the veil as compulsory. So I think that [the ban] would have little bit of resistance with the conservatives such as the ones we witnessed in Kaduna that had clash with authorities. They will never accept such order. So you will have stiff resistance on one side, and also you will have some acceptance on the other side,” he said.
Mohammed said the ban has worked in Cameroon and Chad, it can also work in other West African countries if the governments of those countries educate their people about the ban.
…AS FG says sect plans abductions for ransom
By Fred Eze
Boko Haram plans to abduct pupils/students or foreigners in a desperate bid to raise funds through ransom, the federal government alleged on Friday when it issued a security alert warning the general public to be watchful.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this in a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Segun Adeyemi.
“Boko Haram terrorists, who have been beaten and put on the run by the military, are planning another sensational abduction of pupils/students or foreigners in a desperate effort to raise funds, through ransom, for food, medical and arms supply.
“The kidnap of the Chibok girls in 2014 which attracted global attention to the terrorist group is what it is now trying to repeat, hoping it can find vulnerable targets, especially schools, or a group of foreigners outside the frontline states.
“The plan by Boko Haram is also part of an overall strategy by the terrorists to seek to negatively impact on the psyche of the gallant troops who have routed them (terrorists) from their stronghold.
“And also give the impression that they have not been largely defeated by the December 2015 deadline given by this administration to effectively degrade the insurgency in the North-East,” the statement said.
The statement was also aimed at alerting the general public, operators of hotels and entertainment centres, motor parks and similar facilities to also upgrade their security arrangements for the holidays.
It assured that the federal government would build on the successes recorded by the military which had largely met the deadline to degrade the capability of the terrorists.
“Smoked out of their hideouts and badly bruised by our gallant military, the Boko Haram terrorists are desperate, especially in the face of the depletion of their food supplies.
“In their desperation, they will not hesitate to embark on actions they feel can still make them relevant or enhance their survival. But the military is ready and able to prevent that,’’ he said.


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