FAYOSE’S BULLDOZERS SURROUND EKITI MOSQUES
In spite of the truce reached at a parley between Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Muslim leaders from the South West three weeks ago, members of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in Ekiti State have sighted the governor’s bulldozers strategically stationed near the mosques under threat in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Saturday 22ndApril, 2017.
This move is not only irrational but also highly provocative. Governor Fayose is deliberately provoking Muslims in Ekiti State and, by inference, in Yorubaland and the country as a whole for his own personal agenda. For reasons best known to him, Fayose wants to set Nigeria on fire. He knows that his action is capable of causing a breach of the peace yet he appears determined to go ahead. We warn that nobody should blame Muslims for any breakdown of law and order if those mosques are demolished.
We are bewildered that the chief security officer of a state can be hell-bent on stoking religious riot in a country heavily beleaguered with religious conflicts. Fayose’s belligerence and open display of hostility towards his Muslim citizens belies the perceived atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in South Western Nigeria.
Many people, including foreigners in the country, are under the impression that religious intolerance exists only in the northern part of the country. Nay, the truth of the matter is that Muslims in the region have been patiently bearing a long-drawn repression and denial of their Allah-given fundamental human rights.
Fayose’s latest exhibition of fascism and religious intolerance has just proved that the claim of peaceful coexistence among Yoruba Christians and Muslims is a myth, a mirage and a total illusion. There has been peace because the Muslims of the region have demonstrated extreme forbearance. The Muslims have continued to remain peaceful even in the face of gross provocations.
We recall that the American Congress invited the former president of CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor, to address its members on the purported atrocities committed by Nigerian Muslims. He told the American lawmakers bundles of lies but, unfortunately, the US Congressmen are yet to grant Nigerian Muslims the right of response in the name of fair hearing.
The reality on ground is that while a handful of Christians may be amenable to the idea of religious tolerance, many others like Fayose have a phobia for Muslims and an allergy for seeing any Islamic monument in their neighbourhood. Fayose is determined to uproot every single Islamic landmark on Ekiti soil before his tenure expires in 2018.
MURIC calls the attention of leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to Fayose’s aggression against Muslims. We appeal to Western diplomats in the country to spare a little time to study the religious landscape in Yorubaland. We charge leaders of the National Assembly, lawmakers from Ekiti State and all men of goodwill to make Fayose see reason. We invite notable traditional rulers in Yorubaland, particularly the much revered Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo to intervene in the matter before it gets out of hand.
Finally, we warn that the fragile peace and one-sided religious ‘tolerance’ being enjoyed in the South West may come under severe threat if Fayose carries out his threat to destroy those mosques.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)