There have been continuous protests by Muslims and fans of Mrs. Tinuke Oloruntoyin-Folami over her removal from casting news on the Lagos State Television (LTV).
iWitness NG authoritatively gathered that Mrs. Oloruntoyin-Folami was withdrawn from casting news by the management of the Lagos State Government-owned television station allegedly because she uses a headscarf (hijab).
Investigation conducted by the iWitness NG revealed that suspects behind the removal of Mrs. Oloruntoyin-Folami are LTV’s General Manager, Deji Balogun and Director of News and Current Affairs, Siju Alabi.
It was learnt that things were a bit smooth for Oloruntoyin-Folami until Siju Alabi resumed duty with the LTV.
According to sources, Alabi is a former staff of Channels Television, a station which many Muslims have constantly alleged of being against their religion.
Reliable sources within the LTV also confirmed that the management of the LTV had earlier threatened the broadcaster to choose between her hijab and news casting.
One of them said, “The new development here is strange. It all started from retrenchment and later redeployment. Most of the news casters have been returned on air, but Alhaja was not. I don’t know so much about Alhaja. I just know that she is my favourite among those casting news in our station.”
“The issue with Alhaja is somehow. She had earlier been told to stop using hijab if she wants to cast but I learnt she said her religion is against that, you know you Muslims thing na! I suspect that she is not allowed to cast news again because of her hijab. If it is about performance, she is doing very well,” a Christian staff of the station said.
Reacting to the development, Muslims on social media wondered why Oloruntoyin-Folami’s religion would constitute a reason for depriving her casting of news.
While faulting the management of the LTV, they complained that such was least expected in a government-owned station.
In a graphic design to expose the station, they tagged LTV as ‘Hijabophobia’ and demanded that Mrs. Oloruntoyin-Folami be allowed to cast news with her hijab.
Calls put across to the General Manager and Director of News and Current Affairs of the station were unsuccessful.
Neither the calls put across to them nor the text messages were responded to.
Another top official of the station said, “We are trying to be more professional and we don’t want to appear to be religious bias. How many people do you see casting news with hijab in top ranking stations?”
Also, attempt to reach Oloruntoyin-Folami proved abortive. A close source to her said, “She will not talk. Remember she is a civil servant.”
When contacted on the telephone, the chairperson of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs. Sekinah Lawal, described the alleged action of the LTV management as condemnable.
She clarified that there is nothing wrong with a journalist using hijab as a news caster.
She said, “We have a lot of muslim colleagues in the profession that use hijab. Some are working with broadcast media like NTA and other radio stations. It is not against the ethics of the profession. It is uncalled for and should be condemned totally. We sincerely do not expect such from a station of the calibre of LTV. I hope the management will rectify the error and apologise to all concerned.”