Kaduna governor brokers peace over mosque leadership tussle

Asma'u Halilu, Abuja

Governor Nasiru El-Rufai

Governor Nasiru El-Rufai has brokered peace between contending forces over the leadership of the famous Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna state.

The mosque, named after the first Sultan of Sokoto, was the hub of the Izala movement anchored by late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

It had been enmeshed in a leadership crisis since August 12, and the situation led to the expulsion of the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Balele Wali.

The appointment of Dr Khalid Abubakar as acting Chief Imam was staunchly opposed by some members of the mosque, led by Dr Ahmad Gumi.

A statement by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to Governor El- Rufa’í, however, said stakeholders at the meeting held in Kaduna, agreed to give peace a chance.

There, it was said that the contending parties have agreed to allow the Deputy Imam of the mosque to serve in acting capacity pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Imam.

They mandated the management committee of the mosque, in collaboration with the Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Gumi’s group and other stakeholders to set up a committee for the appointment of a substantive Imam.

The meeting also resolved that the committee would have two weeks from the first day of its sitting, to complete its assignment.

Stakeholders at the meeting were the Emir, Khalid, Gumi, members of the mosque’s management committee, and the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.

The rest included the Director, DSS, Police Commissioner, as well as representatives of the Army, Air Force and other security agencies.

“I heard your submissions, but our interest as a government is to ensure security and contain threats to peace,” he said, adding that his administration would not tolerate a break down of law and order by folding its arms and allowing people to resort to self-help.

“I took an oath to be fair, just and to protect all citizens of Kaduna State irrespective of their religious affiliations including those that don’t believe in the existence of God.”

He concluded by saying “we will not interfere with your affairs but we will also not allow the security of lives and properties to be compromised.”