Ekiti mosque demolition: Fayose,  muslim leaders reach compromise

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From Adewumi Ademiju, Ado-Ekiti

The tension among muslim community in Ekiti State over government’s threat to demolish four mosques built inside petrol stations has now been laid to rest as Governor Ayo Fayose and leaders of the Muslim community have reached pact and resolved the matter.

The matter was laid to rest at the Osuntokun lodge of the government House in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital after a meeting of the muslim leaders with Governor Fayose.

The muslims community’s delegates led by President General of the Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, for South-West, Delta and Edo,  Sheik Jamiu Kewulere Bello, Chairman, Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs of Ekiti, Yakubu Sani, and Ekiti State chapter of the National Council of Muslim Youths Organisations, (NACOMYO) Mr. Tajudeen Ahmed, appealed to Governor Fayose to reconsider his stand on the mosques marked for demolition, saying he has always been a listening leader and one who cherishes the people.

Sheik Bello who addressed Governor Fayose on behalf of the delegates, said: “We appreciate your immense support for the muslim community in Ekiti. It was with your support and that of God  that we got the position we have as leaders of the community in the South-West, Delta and Edo. Your decision to bring fortunes to all shall be rewarded. Though, we were surprised that one of our mosques would be demolished, but we know you have a listening hear and there must be a reason for your actions. You gave me one condition under which we can discuss and I called the NACOMYO, we discussed and they supported that the mosque should  be used according to your directives.

“You own us and you are our authority, and we should be able to obey and we are all supporting you. People have been calling me on this matter and I have been explaining to them that there is no problem and that the matter would be resolved.”

Responding, Fayose clarified that there is no political bias in his government’s plan to demolish mosques or churches built inside the petrol station. He said that the mosque marked for demolition is being attended by many Muslim worshipers, a development which he said is very risky in the event of any fire accident. The governor remarked that he would not demolish the mosques if they are used for private worship and not for commercial or public use.

“I would have sent security operatives to enforce the order to demolish the mosques but because of the respect I have for you (Sheik Bello).  Despite the barrage of insults that some Muslim groups have given me on the internet and the papers, some of them even went to the point of doing rally and protests and turned the matter to politics, but I kept my cool. I would have arrested them because those doing the rally have overstepped their boundary but we honor you.

“Please caution those doing that so they don’t rubbish you. No one who is in APC can say I have harassed him in the state and I don’t allow any of my people to harass them because I don’t play politics of bitterness

“If I want to promote politics of bitterness, I would not build a women centre to immortalize the Deputy Governor of my predecessor, the Adunni Olayinka Women Centre,  we would not be celebrating the death of late General Adeyinka Adebayo because his stature has gone beyond politics. We must celebrate and honor you.

“Tell our people, our patience does not mean we can’t fight. As for those in existence,  I will allow them to operate for private  use only. No violation of this condition.   Henceforth in this state,  it is abomination  to build either mosque or church within the premises of petrol station.

“I am not after any body, if there is any government that has paid attention to any muslim in this state, I am one. I considered the new chairman of Ado-Ekti because he is a Muslim. When we wanted to choose a muslim secretary they disagreed but I insisted, I made the first muslim chairman in Ado Local Government Council. I asked others to step down for him.

I have Muslims in my government as Special Adviser and all that.  I am not sentimental.

“There were some shops in Atinkankan which belonged to some CAC clerics but were built on wrong part of the road, I still demolished them. I am demolishing some shops that were built by my own mother. When she called me I told her that I would demolish them. No sentiments.

“You cannot use cell phone in a petrol station, because of radioactive emissions this is why we cannot allow many people to attend faith based worship centres in petrol stations.

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“We must have courage to take decisions, we must not endanger the lives of anybody. We can build mosques or church near the petrol stations but not inside. The ones inside the petrol stations must be for private use and for occasional visits of few worshipers who would not be a crowd.

I support muslims, my father’s Muslim name was Jimoh. If anything is wrong , let us look at it together. If it is for private worship I can tolerate it but if there is traffic there, I won’t.

Any mosques built for private use will not be demolished. But when hundreds are going there, the mistake of one man can cause big tragedy for all.

“Government’s intervention is not to demolish but to ensure that the mosques are not used for commercial, public use, once the traffic is too much, it is not allowed. If you find a land nearby that you can build mosque on, I may take it for you. Tell anyone who comes to you that we have only one government and we must protect it, ” governor Fayose said.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, coordinator of NACOMYO in Ekiti, Mr. Tajudeen, said: “We have been able to foster an understanding, and reached a consensus between the muslim community and government of Ekiti State. The Governor has been able to convince us to see reasons why he wanted to take the action. Our leaders have been able to see reasons with the governor. As muslims, we are enjoined by Allah to obey our leader and the governor of the state is by all means our leader.

So we have to comply with all that he says especially when it is not going to bring any injury to or denigrate the practice of Islam as a religion, we have accepted that the mosque in question should henceforth be used for private worship not for commercial or public use.”

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