Islamic leaders demand justice over attacks by traditional worshippers

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Abdulqudus Ogundapo

The League of Imams and Alfas in Ogun State has demanded the arrest of the perpetrators of attacks on their members in some parts of the state by    Oro, Agemo, Eluku and Egungun worshipers.

The attacks according to the Islamic group have been on repeatedly for over 10 years.

The  Secretary- General of the group , Sheikh  Tajudeen Adewunmi  stated  this  in a statement iaaued   on Tuesday .

According to Adewunmi , the most recent occurrence happened in Ipokia, Ikenne, Iperu, and some other area of Ogun State.

He said in  all the occurrences over the years, culprits have not been treated in a manner that could serve as deterrent  to others.

He lamented that the attacks have left psychological damages not only on the individuals affected and their family members but also on the entire Muslim community.

He also complained on  the curfew impossed on the people ,saying ,the development  affected commercial and educational activities in the areas.

He  expressed displeasure over the  failure of the adherents of the traditional religions  to abide by the law.

The group however called on the State government to 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.

The statement read “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.

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“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 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:am 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.

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“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.

“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 bodily injuries on them and willfully destroyed 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.”

While chiding the Police over their inability to arrest the perpetrators , Adewunmi said “The matter was reported by the Iperu Muslim committee at the Iperu Police Station. It is, however, disappointing that no arrest has been made yet.

“The league, as the representative of the Muslim Ummah in Ogun State views very seriously, all the above frequent and incessant attacks on Muslims in very many areas of Ogun State. 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?”

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