The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has warned that Nigerian Muslims are running out of patience with the West African Examinations Council, which allegedly contemptuously treats Muslim girls against anti-Muslim policies.
MURIC has also accused WAEC of being used by certain forces to delay the educational progress of Nigerian Muslims.
The Islamic human rights group complained that its office was flooded with reports from Muslim students, their teachers, and parents about facial recognition software used during WAEC registration and refusing to catch girls wearing hijab.
In a statement to DAILY POST, signed by its director Ishaq Akintola, the group suspected that the request was intentionally designed to automatically reject hijab.
As a result, MURIC asked WAEC to review the software by making it hijab compliant.
The statement said: “The reports from MURIC’s state branches about the WAEC registration for 2020 were alarming and disappointing.
“In distant Minna in the state of Niger at the Hasha International School, the students had problems with registration in the hijab.
“The same reports came from several secondary schools in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, etc., and resulted in officials asking Muslim students to remove their hijab for detection because they believed the hijab was not detected by the WAEC software ,
“Here is the puzzle. Some questions come to mind and it seems that only WAEC can answer them. So over to WAEC. Muslims pay the same amount for WAEC as everyone else.
“Why do our daughters become victims? Why are they set aside for embarrassment? Why must their religion become a source of discomfort for them? Why are Muslim parents made to suffer psychological trauma?
“And now to fundamental questions that are directly connected to the WAEC software in the questions. Who designed the software? Why doesn’t the software capture the hijab used by Muslim students?
“Why should it be specifically designed not to catch Muslim women wearing hijab? Are we saying that Muslim children can no longer be Muslims until they assume non-Muslim identities?
“Why didn’t the developers of the WAEC software consider the hijab from the start? Was there a test run before the design was approved? If there was a test run, who monitored the test run and where is the report?
“MURIC immediately requests answers to these questions. Controversy over WAEC registration, stereotyping and ill-treatment of Muslim candidates, and imposing anti-Muslim schedules have become recurring decimal places over the years.
“MURIC has intervened peacefully and diplomatically over the years. Nevertheless, the controversies crop up year after year.
“We warn that Nigerian Muslims are patient about WAEC’s intransigence and contemptible treatment of Muslims. This review panel should therefore be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order regarding its disgusting and anti-Muslim policies.
“We believe that WAEC is being used by certain forces to delay the progress of Nigerian Muslim education.
“We also strongly suspect that the controversial software is one of the plans for elements hostile to Islam to frustrate Muslims after it has been found that no examining agency has the right to prohibit Muslim students from using the hijab.
While requesting an investigation into the allegations, the Muslim Rights Group agreed to fund an expert’s fees as long as a Muslim was included on the investigation team.
“We request an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the development, operation, deployment, and use of the software used by WAEC to determine the reasons for the software’s constant rejection of hijab.
“For a transparent exercise, we recommend including the National Agency for Information Technology Development (NITDA), a federal government agency, in the study.
“We continue to demand the co-opting of a Muslim expert in the investigative team. We volunteer to look after the Muslim experts and pay for their services.
“We urge WAEC to accept these suggestions and the offer to prove beyond any doubt that the review panel has no hidden agenda against Muslims. Those who come to justice must come with clean hands.
“To lock the building, we are demanding a high quality service for Muslim students wearing hijab as part of their basic human rights given by Allah. We reaffirm that there is something fundamentally wrong with software that doesn’t constantly recognize a particular type of dress. We strongly suspect manipulations from the source.
“We therefore immediately require a transparent check of the WAEC acquisition software. This incident cannot happen again in 2021. One stitch in time saves nine. “
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