From Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Muslims in Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government Area, Ekiti State have accused the traditional ruler of the community Oba Olatunde Olusola and the Divisional Police Officer of complicity in the vicious attack against Muslims, which took place at a mosque during a Ramadan prayer.
The National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations, NACOMYO, which made the allegation in a statement jointly signed by the State Coordinator, Tajudeen Ahmed, and the Secretary, Musa Tijani, recalled that the king had earlier warned the Muslims to keep their women away from the mosque on that fateful day, which was the grand finale of the community’s masquerade festival.
Affirming its belief in the complicity of the monarch, NACOMYO said: “HRH David Olatunde Olusola, was said to have written a letter to the Muslim community of Ikun Ekiti to ensure that their women were kept indoors. The Muslim community ensured total compliance by keeping all their female members indoors.
“While the innocent and fasting Muslims were being tormented, the Muslims made frantic efforts to reach out to the police authorities at Ikun and Moba local government areas, respectively, to come to their rescue but the DPO ignored the distress calls and dissuaded the police from going to the scene on the basis that the Onikun of Ikun Ekiti had confirmed to him that there was no crisis whatsoever at Ikun Ekiti.
“On our part, we condemn the invasion of the Ikun Ekiti Central Mosque by masquerades and the monumental assault meted on the fasting Muslims. We see the invasion as an abominable act that is most sacrilegious. It is a clear cut defilement of the sacred mosque and an unnecessary provocation of the Muslim faithful.”
Also furious at the ugly development, the Ekiti State branch of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) called for the arrest and prosecution of the masquerades that unleashed terror on Muslims observing Ramadan in Ikun-Ekiti.
The Council also implored Governor Ayo Fayose to call the monarch and his subjects to order for their alleged complicity in the attack. Five Muslims including the Imam of the Ansarudeen Central Mosque, Ustaz Abdurazaq Abubakar Bello, sustained various degrees of injuries.
While calling on Muslims to maintain peace, the Islamic body warned that it might not be able to stop the faithful from defending themselves if the government and security agencies did nothing to protect them.
When he addressed at a press conference held in Ado-Ekiti on Monday, Ekiti NSCIA President, Alhaji Yakub Sanni urged the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim
Idris, to save Muslims in Ikun-Ekiti and other parts of Ekiti State from unprovoked attacks.
Sanni accused the state police command of failing to act on the petition forwarded to it on the attack expressing dismay that no arrest has been made since the incident occurred. He said: “From the said day till date, the Commissioner of Police, Ekiti State Command and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Otun Police Station have refused, disregarded and neglected the said petition while the masquerade worshippers under the directive of a monarch had continued to intimidate and threaten members of the Muslim community in Ikun-Ekiti.
“The leadership of this Council had charged the Muslims to maintain peace which is the hallmark of Islam and to give the Police authorities and indeed all the security agencies in the country the opportunity to look at this case and do the needful.
“You will recall that this same Egungun masquerades had earlier in 2013 attacked the same mosque and the worshippers therein. It has therefore, become a routine action of these masquerades to attack Muslims and their mosque in Ikun-Ekiti in the name of celebrating their Egungun Festival. It took the intervention of the state government in 2013 to avert what could have snowballed to a full-blown crisis.”
Attempts to speak with Oba Olusola regarding the allegations were unsuccessful as calls made to his phone were neither taken nor did he respond to text messages sent to him, as at the time of filing this report.
Almost two weeks ago, masquerades besieged Muslims who gathered in the town’s Central Mosque in Ikun Ekiti, around 7pm to observe the Maghrib prayer after breaking their Ramadan fast.
Sunday Sun gathered that trouble started when the masquerades were angered by the Muslims call to prayers when they were still celebrating the Egun festival. Ostensibly to teach them a lesson, the horde of masquerades attacked the worshippers with cudgels, stones and iron rods and inflicted injuries on them.
About five of the worshippers were said to have sustained varying degrees of injury. The assailants allegedly smashed the windscreen of two cars parked at the entrance of the mosque and damaged the bodies of the vehicles with an axe.
Acting Imam of the mosque, Alhaji. Abdul-Rasak Abubakar-Bello was severly injured in the attack and was rushed to the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, where he received stitches on his head.
Bello who spoke to Sunday Sun on his hospital bed, said the Muslims were held hostage in the mosque for four hours by the masquerades, who also threatened to kill them.
He said: “There was no way we could escape because they were waiting for us outside after initially attacking us inside the mosque with iron rods and wood planks. When we succeeded in locking ourselves inside the mosque, they started throwing stones at us.”
Bello accused the Divisional Police Office of ignoring distress calls made to him by the Muslim community as he refused to send his men to the scene.