The league of Imams and Alfas ,otherwise known as Rabitta in Ogun state has demanded justice from the Police and the state government over frequent attacks by traditional worshippers on Muslims.
The Rabitta in it’s statement tittled “incessant attacks on Muslims and mosques by traditionalists : Ogun Rabitta demands justice”, expressed concern over incessant attacks on its members by the Oro, Agemo, Eluku and Egungun worshipers in the state
The statement issued by Secretary-General, League of Imams and Alfas in the state,Shaykh Tajudeen Adewunmi,
read “The League of Imams and Alfas in Ogun state feels very disturbed and sad over the recent and continuous attacks on Muslims in some parts of the state by the Oro, Agemo, Eluku and Egungun worshippers without any provocations, more so, when there was no instance where Muslims in any part of the state have stopped them from practising their choice of religion.
“On October 22 2019, the Eluku cultists attacked Zumuratul Mu’min Mosque in Amororo area of Iperu town while the Muslims were preparing for the dusk (maghrib) prayers inflicting severe injuries on them and destroying properties within and around the mosque including vehicles parked within the vicinity of the mosque. Three Muslims suffered severe burns from the hot vegetable oil poured on them by the traditionalists while others sustained various degrees of injury during the attack. Two of the injured Muslims are still at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, (OOUTH), Sagamu.
“The matter was reported by the Iperu Muslim committee at the Iperu Police Station. We are dissapointed that no arrest has been made so far.
The league, as the representative of the Muslim Ummah in Ogun State said the incessant attacks on Muslims in very many areas of Ogun State will no longer be tolerated. The league said such attacks have left serious physiological and psychological damages not only on the individuals affected and their family members but also on the entire Muslim community.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right. It is the exercise of this right that the traditional worshippers who attacked the Muslims were exercising when they carried out their nefarious attacks. Does it then mean that the fundamental rights of the Muslims in that community are circumcised to the rights of the traditional worshippers?
” We call the responsive attention of the Ogun State Government to these recurrent attacks, despite a high court injunction in Ipokia in 2018 that imposition of such curfews by the traditional worshippers during the daytime is illegal. As citizens of Ogun State, law abiding and peacefully exercising our religious rights, we request the state government to ensure that the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is entrenched and enforced.
“We request the Ogun state government to ensure the safety of the lives and properties of all citizens, especially, from unwarranted attacks by some religious adherents on others.
“We request that the State government should ensure that justice is done at all times such that culprits of wrong behaviours and actions are appropriately punished to serve as deterrent to others. Justice is indeed the denominator to the quality of peace and peaceful co-existence in any community.”
While recalling past attacks on Muslims in the state ,the Rabitta said “the situation in Ogun State is contrary to that constitutional provision, given the plethora of attacks on Muslims by some traditional worshippers in many parts of the state at various times. We have it on good records that, such unprovoked attacks by the traditional worshipers have been on repeatedly in the last 10 years.
“The most recent occurrence happened in Ipokia, Ikenne, Iperu, and some other area of Ogun State. In all the occurrences over the years, culprits have not been treated in a manner that could serve as deterrent to others.
“The same Nigerian constitution, Section 38 (2) states “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
“Also subsection (3) States “No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community or denomination.”
“These sections of the Nigerian constitution affirm that Nigeria is a multi-religious state. Islam is one of the major religions. Every religious person is empowered constitutionally to practise his or her religion accordingly without any disturbances, intimidation, embarrassment, assault or any other form of molestation by any person or group.
“For more than 10 years, the traditional worshippers have been imposing curfews on people, closing down all commercial and academic activities for days, all in the name of celebrating their festivals without consideration for other religious adherents.
“In Islam, Muslims are enjoined to pray five times daily at stipulated times. Such imposed curfews have been serious infringements on the Muslims rights towards freedom of worship as ordained by our Creator and supported by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is also in records that, students have been prevented from attending classes or taking national examinations like WASSCE, NECO or UTME at such times that such curfews were unilaterally imposed on the people by the traditionalists.
“On July 29, 2019. Oro worshippers invaded various mosques within Ipokia Local Government Area wielding dangerous weapons and charms with which they attacked Muslims who fled for their lives. Several properties were destroyed and many people suffered various bodily injuries.
“Also, despite the intervention of the leadership of league of Imam and Alfa in Ogun State, on September 8, 2019, the Oro worshippers attacked Muslims in Ipokia, Tube and its environs, during daylight. It is worthy of note that the recalcitrant attitude of the Oniko of Ikolaje Oba John Oyekunle at the peace meeting emboldened the traditionalists for the subsequent attacks.
“Whereas, in 2018, the Ogun State High Court in Ipokia had declared the imposition of curfew on the People of Ipokia by Oro worshippers in daytime as illegal. The court also declared that Oro festival or ritual could only be celebrated between 12 midnight and 4:am.
“Prior to these recent attacks, Muslims in Ijebu-Ode and its environs have always been under fears and anxiety from the activities of Agemo worshippers which usually results in attacks from the traditional worshippers on the Muslims.
“In the last three years, the Agemo festival which usually takes place between July and August in that area had imposed unnecessary restriction on Muslims from freely practicing their religious rite.”