A mild drama played out at an MTN registration outlet in Abuja when a certain Muslim woman refused to remove her ‘hijab’ to complete her SIM registration process.
Following the fine imposed on MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for having about 5 million unregistered SIMs in its network, it started another round of SIM cards registration in the country to meet up with the January deadline.
At the Garki II, Lagos street MTN outlet, a Yoruba-speaking Muslim woman covered with hijab, refused security search at the entrance to the registration centre.
A police officer, who was acting on instructions to check every customer before they gained access into the office, told a reporter that, “This woman is a suspect.
“How can you come to a public place dressed like this and you expect to gain access into an office that is not yours?
“No one knows what she has under her veil. She may be carrying a bomb, who knows?
“This is the reason why we insisted on searching her and she claimed she is a Minister’s wife,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, the purported Minister’s wife gained access into the office through the intervention of one of the MTN staff who identified herself simply as Zainab.
Zainab, the front desk Manager, said the unidentified woman asked to be privately attended to as she cannot unveil herself in public.
According to her, “The woman asked me to register her in a private room because she cannot remove her veil. I told her it is not in any way possible and after pleading, I asked her, “what if I want to take your photo during the registration?”
Zainab said the supposed Minister’s wife also declined and asked for the registration to be done without her snap shot. She said the woman later asked that she sought permission from her husband before she can unveil her face for the registration process to be completed.
The woman, having caused a stir in the outlet with eyebrows raised, disorganized queues with her insistence and left mouths wagging. She told DAILY POST that she will make sure she deals with ‘this so-called police officer.’
The Hajiya, (as she was referred to), who didn’t want her name mentioned, said, “Can you imagine the embarrassment, an ordinary police woman stopping me from entering an office in my own country?
“I will show you,” she added.
Speaking further, she said, “I want to do this registration thing and they say I must open my veil, which I cannot do because it is against my belief.
“I managed to gain access into the office after several embarrassments from these police guard. When I got in, the MTN officials said I needed to open up my face for a snap shot to complete my registration process which I had not even started.
“I just came out to take permission from my husband, whether or not I should unveil myself, before this police woman said if I go out, I won’t be allowed to go back into the office unless I am thoroughly searched,” she said.
When asked if she was actually a wife of one of the Nigerian Ministers, she said, “I’m sure you must have heard people say that here. People, who know me, have said it, so I cannot talk about that right now,” the professed minister’s wife quipped.