A socio-cultural organisation, the Yoruba Welfare Group has appealed to Muslims in Osun State to resist any attempt at reprisals following the death of one of their leaders, Alhaji Moshood Salawudeen who was shot and killed by irate masquerade worshippers during their Special Prayer for Security in Nigeria last Sunday.
YWG State Chairman, Mr Niyi Odelade, during a condolence visit of the group on Tuesday urged the Muslim community to remain calm and trust the commitments of both the state government and the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
The appeal came on the heels of the threat by the Imam of the Qamorudeen Society of Nigeria Mosque (in a viral video) whose Baba Adinni (an important personality in the group) was murdered and another threat issued by the Coalition of Muslim Rights Activists of Nigeria, Osun State Chapter when speaking with journalists in Osogbo on Tuesday.
They both complained of failure of the police to investigate previous attacks and to consequently prosecute the transgressors, despite series of reports and repeated warnings, accusing the state government of taking sides with the masqueraders.
However, Odelade stressed that YWG is not only against violence as a means of pursuing one’s rights or expressing grievances, it also stands for peaceful coexistence of all Yorubas, irrespective of clans or religions differences.
“We are here today at Qamorudeen Society Mosque, Aranyin, Ita Olookan, Osogbo. According to reports and from what we saw, the masqueraders, reportedly led by one Kayode Idowu Esuleke seem to have prepared for this unprovoked attack and they were out to settle some (old) scores with the Muslim group for reasons best known to them.
“The place where the Mosque was situated is a close. The masqueraders had no business going there in the first place and had no reason whatsoever to have claimed they were passing by. This later played out in the killing of the Baba Adinni of the society, leaving 14 members of the Islamic group critically injured with bullet and matchet wounds.
Odelade said the incident was an attack rather than a clash as being reported by some media.
He, nevertheless, urged the Muslim group to explore all legal and peaceful means to seek redress, even as he called on both the government and the police to do the needful with a view to earning the confidence of the populace and preventing future violence.
Meanwhile, the Imam/Missioner of the Qamorudeen Society, Osogbo Branch, Mallam Qasim Yunus alleged that Esuleke, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Osun State is being shielded by those in government circles. He wondered why Esuleke has neither been arrested, interrogated nor prosecuted for his previous transgressions.
According to the Chief Missioner, the attack was carried out in the presence of security men, saying, “What evidence is the CP still claiming to look for before the perpetrators are brought to book moreso, when this involves murder?”, he queried.
He cited a radio program where Mr Esuleke couldn’t successfully answer the question when he was asked where they got the guns from.
The Imam explained that the attacked was not the first to be suffered from the masqueraders, stating that, aside the latest attack, It had happened in 2004, 2014, and 2018. He, however, wondered why the perpetrators have always gone scot-free, each time the attacks were carried out.
“It was one Dauda Aworo, the Aworo Osun who led the attack in 2004, when he similarly destroyed the mosque and decapitated the arms of some of my members. Justice was not done then as well. It was the late Ataoja of Osogbo who prevailed on us to forget the matter and laid the matter to rest.
“Also in 2018, Esuleke was personally present to inflict injuries on people and destroy the mosque. We took all the pictoral evidence to the state CID, nothing was done. This is what has emboldened him to commit further heinous crimes. I again went to the State CID in 2019, still nothing was done to curb his excesses. The only thing that happened was that the Senior Special Assistant to the Govermor came here to warn both of us against violence, as if we (the Muslims) were involved in any violent act.
“We suspect collaboration between the masquerade worshippers on one hand and the government with the police on the other. Except justice is done this time, we will have no option but to conclude that there is an effective collusion and collaboration between them”.
While insisting that the body language of the government seems to have emboldened Esuleke to persist in the attacks, Imam Yunus called on the government to ensure that perpetrators of the unprovoked mayhem are brought to book to forestall future occurrences in form of retaliation.
Coalition of Muslim Rights Activists reacts
Speaking to journalists on Monday, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Muslim Rights Activists of Nigeria (COMRAN), Osun Chapter, Mallam AbdulGaniy Sahid Olaide-Ezra wondered why a group who gathered to offer special prayer for God’s intercession and intervention to solving the security challenges being faced by the country would be attacked without provocation of any sort.
“This is exactly what Qamorudeen Society of Nigeria, Osun State Branch did on Sunday ,27th day of June 2021 when a special prayer was organised for the nation at their mosque located at Oluode Aranyin, Osogbo in addition to their regularly weekly Asalatu Prayer.
“Almost 3 hours into the prayer, commotion exchanged places with the hitherto peaceful environment of the mosque. Alas, the Society that was praying for Peace ended up being the causality as the masquerade worshippers led by an Ifa Worshipper who is also an APC stalwart in Osun State.
“Chief Kayode Idowu Esuleke stormed the mosque and unleashed mayhem on the Islamic faithful leaving one person dead and scores injured with various degres of gun wound, mosque vandalised, vehicles destroyed and other properties of the society destroyed”.
Olaide-Ezra who listed the names of the 13 people (including children, women and the aged) who sustained varying degrees of injuries with their ages said the victims were all receiving treatments at the UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital.
He concluded that the attack unleashed on the defenceless worshippers was a premeditated one, which was perfectly planned and clinically executed; the reason there was no record of a single causality on the part of the masquerade worshippers.
Olajide-Ezra, therefore called on Govermor Gboyega Oyetola and the police, to: in line with provision as enshrined in Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution, protect the Muslim faithful and immediately get Esuleke arrested and prosecuted.
Olaide-Ezra threatened that if their demands were not met within tge 72-hour ultimatum, members of the Coalition would demonstrate their capacity to defend and protect themselves with their properties and interest within the ambit of the constitutional provision of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Oyetola orders police to bring culprits to book
Meanwhile, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State has condemned the attack on the Muslim group by the traditional worshipers.
In a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, while commiserating with the Muslim group and the family of the Islamic cleric whose life was cut short during the incident, Oyetola ordered the Police to get to the root of the incident with a view to bring the perpetrators to book.
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prince Abdullah Binuyo, who led the state government delegation on an on-site assessment of the crime scene as well as a solidarity visit to the victims who were receiving treatment at the UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital assured the victims that the government would deploy the weight of the law to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He appealed for calm to avoid any reprisals and promised that the government would pick the hospital bills of those receiving treatment to ensure further pressure is not put on the victims.
In the delegation were: Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu; Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode; Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mrs Abiodun Ige and Special Adviser to the Governor on Osun Investment Promotion Agency, Prince Femi Adeniran.
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