By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna.
A dispute over who becomes the Chief Imam of the Sultan Bello Mosque, one of the most reputable Mosques in the Northern Part of Nigeria today is resulting into the mosque been shut and the mandatory Friday congregational prayers put off.
The crisis raised its ugly head in the last Eid-el-Kabir celebration September 12, 2o16 when there was a crisis on who to lead the Eid prayers following the late coming of the substantive Imam and as a result of heavy rain.
The Secretary-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, was later appointed as the acting Imam of the Mosque on 13th October 2016 by the decision of His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto, HRH Emir of Zazzau and other Muslim leadership.
His appointment, as gathered, followed a misunderstanding at the mosque after an incident which occurred on Eid day, 12th September, 2016 that led to a division in the Eid prayer and removal of Sheikh Balele Wali, after which the Deputy Imam had been overseeing the affairs of the mosque.
Signs of lingering problems started showing as early as 8.00am on Friday 28th, October 2016, when truck loaded with armed policemen were stationed around the mosque, led to a division that disrupted Juma’at prayers at the mosque. Police however quickly intervened to prevent breakdown of law and order.
Addressing newsmen after the incident, Secretary-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, who is also the appointed Acting Imam alleged that the disruption at the Mosque was cause by Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi followers by his order.
According to him, the cleric took to one of his page in social media to order his followers on Thursday 27 October, 2016, not to allow the peaceful conduct of the Jumat prayers the next day.
The Imam decribed the incident of the 12th September,
2016, as irresponsible act, for any body to stop an Imam charged
with the responsibility of conducting the prayer and go ahead to lead without apology.
He also noted that sending his followers by Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi to disrupt the Friday prayer without directive from any constitute authority make him look like some one whose words is law, undermining the authority that appoint Dr. Khalid as the interim Imam who also appointed previous Imams, hence the excesses to be checked by security agencies.
He however called on the state government to intervene on the matter by checking Gumi’s excesses and assured that the leadership would come in to bring peace.
Meanwhile, there had been early warning by Sheikh Ahmed Mahmud Gumi of a plot by Emir of Zazzau to cause chaos by appointing Dr. Khalid as the Chief Imam at Sultan Bello Mosque saying that the imposition of a chief Imam at the Mosque could affect the peace and stability of the mosque.