by Doyin Jaiyesimi
Women may soon no longer be able to wear their favourite head gears, popularly known as geles, to church as they are now seen as a potential security threat.
St. Theresa’s Cathedral Church in Enugu takes the lead in banning women’s headgears from its pew. It is believed that the ban of big headgears and bags will assist security officials in detecting attempts to smuggle bombs into the church. According to Reverend Father Uche Obodoechina, “headgears make it difficult to identify people”. They also pose a potential security risk when women sit side-by-side, forming a barricade and obstructing vision.
“It is an unusual move but they must have their own information for doing so,” said Monsignor Gabriel Osu of the Catholic archdiocese of Lagos. “Nigerians now are very security conscious and churches especially are very vulnerable. So rather than take chances, they will do anything to minimise the risks to their congregations; they’re going that extra mile.”
Some churchgoers believe the ban is a good decision while others believe it impedes on the right of women to dress as they would like to church.
“I’ve never heard such a thing and I don’t think women in my own church will abide by that”, said Grace George, a Lagos resident. “Most of the week we women are working, so Sunday is the only chance to wear geles and dress up. We want to look our best when we go to church, and you cannot do that if you expose your head.”
It may not be an easy decision to comply with but with the increase in attacks on churches, the ban of headgears is seen as a necessary security measure by those who support the measure.