Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation



Abubakar Shekau does not speak my language. Boko Haram are your people. They are not my people.

Those were my defiant last remarks as I was escorted out of Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital ~UDUTH for standing up to a man.
My words hit a raw nerve with a people who are at ease accusing an innocent citizen of being a security threat and forget that Boko Haram are their own flesh and blood.
Boko Haram are Hausa-Fulani not only in ethnicity but also in mentality, for Nigerians who join the insurgency do so on the premise that there is innumerable religious reward in inflicting harm on others – a core belief of the Hausa-Fulani.
The man I gave a piece of my mind was the second of two hospital security men who after I was searched and cleared by a senior security official still had unsavoury comments for me.
I gave them as much as I received.
On my exit from the office of their superior, who was a committed security professional, I heard the first male contemptuously state that if it was elsewhere “they will beat her”.
Immediately, I challenged him and repeatedly asked him:

Why will they beat me?

My question was deliberate, for there was an absolute liability of a security personnel inciting violence.
I wanted him to justify that violence while I am alive and to my face.
He did well to keep his mouth shut.
Clearly, he is well aware of moments to keep his objectionable opinions to self.
As soon as I turned to leave, another curtly asserted that I be made to leave the office building.

Why should I be made to leave?

He proceeded to offer me unsolicited and hypocritical advice:

When you come to a society, you have to behave the way the society wants.

I expect non-Hausa-Fulanis reading this will appreciate the role other ethnicities play in endorsing and enforcing the way of life of the North.
Yes, the same North they cry against when their northern allies turn on them.
Naturally, uncompromisingly, I rejected that.

The society behave the way they want; I behave the way I want.

He continued his outbursts; my hands under my Hijab were his problem.

What is your business with my hands?

Oh! And did I mention his words:

We are all Muslims.

That statement has become the modus operandi to psychologically disarm unsuspecting persons.
Even Christians say that!!!! Serious laughter!!!!!! Northern Nigeria!!!
I retorted with my usual declaration:

Do not tell me we are all Muslims. You practise your religion. I practise mine.

Realising he has run out of hollow official criticisms of my way of life, he went full-scale personal.

You are very rude.

As are you.

You will be told to leave the hospital. Is that the way you talk to your husband?

Is that the way you talk to your wife?

I walked away from him, as a third man whose male ego has been battered muttered angrily in Hausa.
Seconds later, I was approached by two security officers and instructed to leave the premises.

Yes, I shall leave. You insult me and expect me to plead with you because you are a man. I give you yours.

The entire episode was instigated by a male staff of the General Out-Patient Clinic/ Department ~GOPC/ GOPD where I went to have medical assessment of a mole on the sole of my left foot that has grown painful.
As I carried out the registration processes, unknown to me this GOPC staff commenced a cultural gossip with female patients.
He instigated them.
I was transformed from a patient to a Boko Haram suspect.
To illustrate my new status, he addressed my group from the window.
Rather than enter the waiting hall to call our respective names, he had someone else do that.
On the walk to the ward, he and another male walked far ahead then away from the ward.
From a distance, they pointed out the ward for me.
Inside, I took a seat.
The two men came in and the second ordered me to remove my Niqab.


A nurse called me and whispered that I show the other patients my face as they are afraid.

No, I shall not. I am not here for them. And they are not here because of me. If I am carrying a bomb, it is not in my Niqab. They too could carry a bomb in their Hijab.

I expressed my readiness to raise my Niqab when I am being attended by a health professional, but certainly not for the patients.
In the subsequent dialogue, several arguments were tabled including that all the patients were women and that another woman in Niqab has raised hers.

That they are women does not give them rights over my body.

And on the Niqabi:

She dresses the way she wants; I dress as I wish. I do not need to follow her actions.

Besides, Boko Haram are their people.

A female medical practitioner came out and addressed me. I reiterated my position – to remove my Niqab on medical evaluation only.
The GOPC male staff was already at the window threatening to call security.

Go ahead and call security.

The Hausa-Fulani women were in a frenzy.
To calm the situation, my meeting with the doctor was brought forward.
In the physician’s office, I observed the GOPC staff peering through the window, grinning in self-satisfaction.
I gave him five fingers. I wish to acknowledge and appreciate each one of the staff who remained professional throughout the crisis.
The doctor ordered some blood tests and directed me to the laboratory.
On the way there, my attention was drawn, to which I turned.
Two officials in civilian clothes were accompanied by security men.
One, pointing at my protruding Hijab, asked what I held.
I brought out the objects: my purse on my left hand and the doctor’s prescriptions on my right.
I asked him whether there was a problem.
Another security officer joined us and made allegations in Hausa.
I shall say he was an accomplice of the GOPC staff.
He was on duty at the GOPC reception hall for more than an hour while I was there.
He did not utter a word to me nor ask to know what was under my arm.
However, as soon as his people demonstrated their cultural stupidity, he became active and added to inflame the crisis.
The initial official in mufti politely explained that I was accused of hanging something on my shoulder.

Yes! My purse! Good Gracious!

I was advised to accompany the security official to their office if I have nothing to hide.
I did.
I emphatically state here that while “if one has nothing to hide” is a common prompt for cooperation, that is not applicable when the security concern is triggered by cultural, religious or personal idiocy.

No one is bound to tender an explanation for the imbecility of another.

Hausa-Fulanis are perfectly free to live in fear.
Whether they have cause to live in fear is another matter entirely.
No one should attempt to dissuade them from their precious way of life.
Simultaneously, on no account should they – and all else who advocate that mode of living – project their fear on the rest of us.
From the hospital, I went to the university, for I had an appointment.
Usmanu Danfodio University is the second public facility where trouble constantly rules.
This time, it was the cultural prohibition of women sitting in the front seat of a commercial vehicle.
I have been aware of that for years and have paid no attention to it.
What is my business with nonexistent sanctions on women lifestyle.
Last week Thursday July 9, 2015 was, however, the first time there was an attempt by men and women to impose that practice on me.
I flatly refused to leave my seat.
I was pleasantly astonished when a young Hausa-Fulani lady affirmed my right to any seat of my choice.
This Monday the 13th, I sat on the front seat on both inbound and outbound buses.
For the return journey, I was quickly joined by a young woman.

Women do not usually want to sit in the front. You are sitting in the front today.

To that, she admitted she did so because she saw me entering the front of the vehicle.

That is good. At least, I have achieved something today.

My gratitude to my well-wishers including security agents, Imams and community leaders, who are vocal to ensure my freedom and security are not infringed.
Long live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.

8 comments on “ON FREEDOM I STAND

  1. Pholorunsho
    February 29, 2016

    You as a security man, should be discrete in handling thinks bcos you don’t know who is involve’ the security man is as fault for concluding without knowing who’s behind the NICAP. As a security man you duty is to protect and not to condemn………… Pholorunsho cares………..

    [Edited: The name section was edited to comply with Comments Regulations.

    Dalu {thanks}.

    The one and only,
    Umm Sulaim]

    • Umm Sulaim
      February 29, 2016


      JazakAllah khayra for your understanding.

      The one and only,
      Umm Sulaim

  2. Bint Islam
    April 14, 2016

    Sister, salamun aleikum

    recently became an ardent reader of your publications. if it won’t be considered as asking for too much, please, can I contact you privately? if yes, I need your email address or any of the other contact means.

    • Umm Sulaim
      April 14, 2016

      Welcome to my world.

      Gratitude for your readership.

      Please introduce yourself briefly – your full official name, residence and purpose of the private contact.

      I shall not publish your private information.

      As a matter of principle, I refrain from private communications on social media.

      If the need to contact me privately is urgent, I might reconsider.

      Once again, I appreciate your keenness in my publications.

      Wa alaykis-Salam waRahmatuLlah waBarakatuH.

      The one and only,
      Umm Sulaim

  3. Sidney Davis
    June 10, 2017

    You said, “for Nigerians who join the insurgency do so on the premise that there is innumerable religious reward in inflicting harm on others – a core belief of the Hausa-Fulani.” What is this “innumerable religious reward” that is a “core belief of the Hausa-Fulani”

    • Umm Sulaim
      June 10, 2017

      Welcome to my world, Sidney.

      The rewards include Allah’s Pleasure and Paradise in the Hereafter.

      One needs to understand belief is one thing; the reality of that belief is another.

      Therefore, Allah has no promise of reward for any Muslim who harms another person.

      Actually, Shaytan ~devil is he who, in order to mislead, promised rewards for divisive violence and tribalism.

      The one and only,
      Umm Sulaim

  4. Sidney Davis
    June 11, 2017

    The wearing of the hijab, niqab, or burka is either allowed, disallowed, regulated, proscribed or banned by civil law in various states or countries around the world. President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated that a ban even on the hijab, may be necessary in light of the fact that terrorists hide behind it. How would this impact on a Muslim woman’s religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs to publically wear the hijab, niqab, or burka? Where does one draw the line in advocating religious or personal rights when those rights are inimical to the security, safety, interests or well-being of the community?

    • Umm Sulaim
      June 11, 2017


      I have yet to see a photograph of a Boko Haram operative in Niqab.

      The same question on personal liberty and security could be asked on the entire profile of Boko Haram.

      1. Ethnicity. Many perpetrators of the bombings are either Hausa-Fulani or Kanuri. Can the government ban those two ethnic identities for the safety of Nigerians?

      2. Facial Features. Terrorists have clear northern facial features. Can there be a ban on facial resemblance of Boko Haram?

      3. Hausa Language. The major language of Abubakar Shekau is Hausa. He also communicates in Kanuri. Can those two languages be banned?

      4. Dress Mode. From photographs released in the media, female operatives – and males disguised as females – of Boko Haram wear northern traditional fabrics. Can those be banned too?

      Profiling is not a convenient identification based on one limited feature, but a comprehensive identification of the physical appearances and tangible attributes of perpetrators.

      If there is to be a ban on one, there ought to be a ban on all of the others, as Boko Haram utilise all to effect their violations of the safety of Nigerians.

      Finally, religious freedom is already infringed on the pretext of security. Given that security agents release operatives of Boko Haram, either on the claim that such are not involved in terrorism or in exchange for abducted Nigerians, one begins to wonder whether this whole insurgency is not a wall behind which to apply the contempt for the religious freedom of others.

      I should add that several constitutional rights can be inimical to security.

      Take freedom of speech as an instance. Boko Haram exploit this to promote their ideology. Should speech be suppressed because it is abused by few?

      The one and only,
      Umm Sulaim

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2015 by in Human Rights and tagged .


© Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts 1439/ 2018. All rights reserved.

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