A foremost Muslim group, Jama'ta Nasril Islam (JNI), Rivers State has condemned in very strong terms the rumoured demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt.
According to Ambassador Chief Alhaji Abubakar Orlu, JNI Vice President – General and Chairman, General Purpose Committee, in a statement, described the claim made by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) as spurious, malicious, untrue and unacceptable, asking if a mosque can be demolished without a foundation.
“No visibly constructed mosque was demolished by the Rivers State government. In the Islamic belief, however, anywhere Muslims gather themselves to worship is a mosque and should be respected by everyone”, he added.
The leader of the South–East and South-South Muslim Communities said he will not be happy to see the Rivers State government demolish any mosque while lambasting the proponents of the fabricated story, describing it as the figments of imagination of some shameless persons who parade themselves as Muslim leaders in the State, but regularly visit the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt to collect Sallah gifts which usually amounts to millions of naira.
In the words of Chief Alh. Orlu: “regularly, only two or three of those individuals will secretly share the gift items and money collected among them to the total exclusion of other people. Worse still, they also sell Hajj seats allocated to Muslims in Rivers State to Muslims in other States which made the Rivers State government to temporarily suspend the activities of the Muslims Pilgrim Welfare Board”.
“Due to the unsatisfactory manner they run the Muslims Pilgrim Welfare Board and the fraudulent behaviour of the so-called Muslim leaders in Rivers State, they can no longer visit the Government House during Sallah, because no government would fold its arms while her huge investment on Muslims to embark on Hajj is being squandered by few individuals”.
“All the evil prayers they are offering against Governor Nyesom Wike will not work, because he did not demolish any mosque”, Alhaji Orlu stressed.
“Instead of telling the world the simplest truth that the Rivers State Government “ordered them to stop work on its land”, they turn it upside down by blackmailing Governor Nyesom Wike and his administration. No State in present day Nigeria loves Muslims more than the Rivers State government”.
“We are not talking about land – ownership here, but the alleged demolition of a non-existent mosque. There is no validly approved building plan which authorized them to erect a mosque on the proposed site. How many other mosques has the Rivers State government demolished in the State?”, he queried
Alhaji Orlu stated further: that those persons that were clamouring to see Governor Wike on Sallah days in order to receive gifts are the same set of people who are now alleging that the Rivers State government demolished a mosque in Port Harcourt. “They are, in fact, sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) members and have suddenly turned out to be unrepentant enemies of the State government”, the elder statesman declared.
“If these so called Muslim leaders are sincere and dedicated Muslims, they would neither tell nor spread damaging falsehood against the Rivers State government and its officials, because it is an evil act” he further observed.
The Muslim leader also stated: that Northern States are viewed generally as Muslim States, while the South-East and South-South geo-political zones are predominantly Christians, although Muslims and Christian still live in both sections of Nigeria.
“Rivers State is the home for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians. We should therefore, improve on that and remain peaceful. People should live peacefully with one another in the State”, he concluded, stressing that dialogue is the only sure way to peacefully resolve the raging issue, not resorting to character assassination of well-meaning Muslims and Christians who have been living together peacefully all these years in Rivers State, and therefore advised everyone to go about their normal lawful businesses.