By Promise Eze
Students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) have reacted to the just recently unveiled billboards depicting the dress code approved and disapproved by the school management. Recall that for the past few weeks the school management alongside the security officials, commonly known as ‘baba blues’ had launched a serious crackdown on the issue of indecent dressing on campus. The Dean Student Affairs, Prof Mode, had promised earlier on that billboards depicting the University Dress Code would be displayed around campus. These billboards were unveiled yesterday and have generated serious controversies and opinions amongst the student populace.
A 400-level student, Saka Suleman, while speaking with a Campus Duty correspondent, disclosed that he was not satisfied with what had been displayed and that the billboard should have been clear enough on what is indecent and decent dressing.
“I must say that it doesn’t go down well with me. The billboard should have captured things that will encompass decent dressing and indecent dressing in general, seeing that UDUS is a mixture of people from diverse religious and ethnic groups,” Saka said.
He however stated that the fight against indecent dressing is not a fight against Christians but against those who dress indecently irrespective of their religious affiliations. “The fight against indecent dressing is not a fight against the Christians but against all those who dress indecently irrespective of religion, tribe or region. Indecent dressing has never been our culture in UDUS and it will never be. Muslims have their own decent way of dressing, so does Christians. A decent dressing remains a decent dressing in any religion,” he concluded.
Students were seen hanging around the premises where these billboards were placed, arguing over which dress is moral and immoral. A picture on the billboard reveals a young girl putting on a jean trousers. A red mark on the billboard indicates that her dressing is bad. But not everyone agreed to that. Zayn Hassan is one of them.
“I don’t see anything wrong with ladies putting on jeans,” Zayn said, while speaking with a Campus Duty correspondent. “Almost all the girls in this campus wear this kind of jeans. There are so many girls in the school who wear more revealing clothing. They wear miniskirts, skinny torn jeans, and so many others. Why weren’t they on the billboard?” He asked.
Zayn believes that so many people are bound to misinterpret what the billboard was meant to communicate. “This is only going to promote nothing but hate and discrimination against some set of people because even though the message is ‘Dress Decently’, a lot of people will see something else from the billboard,” he said. He further advised that the school management should be more emphatic and very clear about the matter of dress code in the student’s handbook. “Every year, fresh students are given cards on dress codes. They [the school authorities] should list all the types of indecent dressings that are not allowed instead of putting pictures on billboards only,” he advised.
Ajibola Adewale, a 300 level student from the Faculty of Social Science, revealed that though the crackdown on indecent dressing is appropriate, it has little impact on the educational progress of the students. “There is this aphorism which says ‘the way you dress, so you’ll be addressed’ but dress code or ethics have nothing to do with our educational progress. We need a conducive reading environment in UDUS,” he said. He further mentioned that “issues of traditions and beliefs should be disentangled from education.”
The debate on the matter of dress code displayed on the billboard was and is still raging on the Social Media. Students have used Facebook to share their opinions. A contributor, simply known as Salihu Malika, insisted that the school should provide uniforms for everybody to douse the dress code tension. An Abdullahi Mahmood also supported on Facebook, the fact that school uniforms should be introduced and enforced.
However, the Dean Students’ Affairs in a chat with a Campus Duty correspondent, responded to the reactions of students on the matter. He said that whatever was displayed on the billboards reflects the moral stand of the University.
“You see, everything the billboards are communicating is already in the dress code card distributed to students, it is also in the handbook. Nothing on the billboard is contrary to the rules and regulations of the university. No university condones immorality or nudity. Everything we do here applies in all universities in Nigeria. Every university is after the moral behavior of their students,” he said. The Dean Students’ Affairs emphasized that the “university is after the morality of her students whether they are Muslims or Christians.”
Speaking further on the matter of religion and descent dressing, the dean challenged defaulters to extract from their Holy Books a verse or a chapter supporting nudity or immortality. “Let them bring to the school management a passage from their Holy Books that supports that a girl should expose her chest or her body. Let them show us,” he challenged. He concluded by saying that no lady is forced to put on a hijab, no male is forced to dress like an Uztaz and that defaulters shall be severely dealt with.
Promise Eze is a 200-Level Student Of Education Economics, Usmanu Dafodiyo University, Sokoto.
He can be reached through 08103911686.
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