…As Chief Imam lauds gov’s intervention
…Says Muslim community at peace with natives
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has directed the immediate rebuilding of two mosques damaged by some protesters in the Nsukka Area of the State.
This was announced by the chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Hon. Cosmas Ugwueze, when he visited the location of the damaged mosques, at the instance of the governor.
This came as the Chief Imam of Nsukka Central Mosque, Alhaji Yakubu Omeh said that the Hausa community and other Muslims living in the university town of Nsukka are at peace with the natives and their Igbo neighbours and friends.
Alhaji Omeh made this disclosure following the reported false media reports that the Muslims were still having strained relationship as a fallout of the recent misunderstanding between a Muslim woman of Northern extraction and a commercial tricycle (Keke) operator in the town.
Speaking on the matter on Tuesday, the Chief Imam was emphatic that the matter has been amicably resolved and thanked Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for taking proactive steps to nip the rift in the bud.
“It was an unfortunate development,” says Alhaji Omeh, pointing out that “What happened was a minor issue that was not well handled”.
According to him, “He (Ugwuanyi) is truly a man of peace and a bridge builder. As soon as words got to him, he sent key government officials including the chairmen of six local government areas that make up Enugu North Senatorial District to come down to Nsukka in order to wade into the matter. We thank the governor for such proactive steps.”
Addressing the Muslim community during his visit, Nsukka Council Chairman, Hon. Ugwueze said the state government was saddened over the damage done to the mosques, stressing that the governor immediately directed him to visit the place to ensure that peace is maintained and lives and property safeguarded.
The council boss declared that nothing will stop the age long peaceful coexistence between Igbo and Muslim community in Nsukka.
He stressed that misunderstanding between two people ought not to have degenerated into attacks on Muslims and their worship centers.
The chairman who equally donated assorted food items to the Muslims appealed to them to preach love and peaceful coexistence to their members and discouraged them from engaging in reprisal attack.
“What happened last Saturday was unfortunate because for many decades there has been a peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and Igbo community here in Nsukka.
“I want to assure you of the government’s determination to make Enugu State habitable for all irrespective of tribe or religion.
“His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on whose instance I undertook this visit, has directed that the mosques be rebuilt.
“That is why I am here to convey this message to you and to also assure you that the State Government also directed that all the properties lost will be replaced,” he stated.
He commended the Muslims leaders in Nsukka for their maturity in handling the unfortunate situation.
“I commend your leaders for the manner through which this matter is being handled, call back your members to return to their lawful and legitimate business without fear of attack or harassment as the government has restored normalcy,” he said.
In his response, Yakubu Omeh the Chief Imam of Nsukka Central Mosque who thanked the Chairman for the visit and his promise to immediately rebuild the damaged mosques said that the attack on their worship centers will not damage the good relationship that exists between Muslims and Igbo in Nsukka LG.
“We will play our own part to make sure that there is peace and harmony across all tribes and religions.
“I was surprised on attack on our mosque because the Muslim community has enjoyed cordial relationship with Nsukka people as some of us are indigenes of the LG.
“For many decades we have been living as brothers and sisters.
“Your visit today and promise to rebuild the damaged mosques have shown the volume of care and love the government has for Muslim community in Nsukka,” he said.
Speaking further the Chief Iman said: “I can confirm to you that Nsukka is calm today. There’s no tension anywhere. The Muslims and Hausa community are going about their normal businesses. We’ve always lived in peace with our Igbo and Christian brothers and sisters here.
“We’ve had meetings with the leaders of Keke operators in Nsukka as well as the chairman of the local government area. It was not difficult for us to resolve the misunderstanding because we’ve always related as brothers and sisters, irrespective of where we come from and/or our religious leanings.
“I’m also pleased to inform you that both the woman and the Keke operator have been discharged from the hospital. We also have assurances that the few structures that were damaged will be rebuilt. So, we have no issue at all, and that’s what I’ve told people who called from within and outside to ascertain the true position of things.”