A group, Kofar Gayan Lowcost Community Development Association, has criticised the sacking of the Imam of Abubakar Mahmood Gumi Mosque, Low Cost, Zaria, Kaduna State, Abubakar Sarki-Aminu, for complying with the lockdown and social distancing order of the State and Federal Governments.
Its position was contained in a report addressed to the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, Balarabe Abbas, jointly signed by the Chairman, Shamsuddeen Aliyu, and Secretary, Ibrahim Umar.
A copy of the report, titled: “Report of incident with potential to cause an uprising in our community,” was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State on Tuesday.
NAN reports that the report was drafted after the association formally visited and interacted with both parties (JIBWIS Chairman and Imam Abubakar) and subsequently came up with some resolutions and recommendations.
The resolutions of the report reads in parts: “The peace and unity of our community is not negotiable, we reject any action that is capable of disuniting us and desecrating our Mosque.
“This is a manifestation that we have a law abiding leader (Imam) worthy of commendation. The only reason for the action of the Zaria JIBWIS Chairman is because our Imam has complied with government’s directive.
“All the accusations leveled against the Imam couldn’t have happened in the few days he started complying with government directive.”
It recalled that Governor Nasiru el-Rufa’i, through his Media Adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye, had issued a statement on March 20 banning all sorts of gathering involving more than 50 people across the state to curb coronavirus spread.
The report suggested that the Mosque be shut down until the ban is lifted to encourage other Imams to be law abiding.
It said: “Leaving the Mosque open signifies double standards; it shows that some people are above the law.
“The JIBWIS Chairman has continued with congregational prayers in clear defiance of government’s directive. This must be condemned as a blatant disregard for the law.
“For the purpose of fair hearing and Justice, we recommend an open investigation into the allegation leveled against the Imam with members of the Mosque, community elders and government representatives involved.”
The report urged the leadership of JIBWIS at the state and national levels to look into the situation and caution its leaders against injustice and actions that could hurt the peace of its members.
It suggested that the committee of the Mosque be dissolved because members had authorised the violation of government directive.
It said: “The committee appears ready to desecrate the Mosque, disunite its members and just pursue some selfish interests.
“By disregarding government directive, the committee has shown that it does not represent the interest of our people; it shows that it is eager to expose members to potential dangers of COVID-19.”
The report said the community had been living in peace and unity since its creation about 40 years ago, supporting each other and resolving its internal disputes amicably.
It observed that the Mosque had been a unifying institution of the community, used for prayers, educational purposes, guidance and counseling, conflict resolution and social engagements.
It added: “It is also used for social engagements such as weddings, closed group discussions and so on. As such, it is the most important building in the community, its importance cannot be over-emphasised.
“The Imam of the Mosque has been leading us in the community for close to 40 years, well before the Mosque was constructed; he has been an icon of leadership and unity of the community all these years.”
According to the report, the Imam is so much respected by majority of the community populace regardless of sect, age and gender, and has so much influence on the members of the community in peace making.
It noted that “the Imam has never been involved in any criminal, financial or moral misconduct for all these years he served the community.
“He has never been paid a dime for all the services he has rendered all these years and he has been highly devoted to his duy and never complained of not being compensated.”
NAN reports that Sheik Sani Yakubu, Chairman, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’a Wa’iqamatis Sunnah, Zaria Local Government chapter, recently sacked Sarki-Aminu for complying with the Kaduna State Government order on congregational prayers.
Sarki-Aminu has been the Imam of the Mosque for almost 40 years.