Police in Zaria have between Friday and Sunday invited and detained three Islamic clerics for supervising Juma’at and Eid prayers.
Investigation by Daily Trust revealed that two of the clerics were invited and interrogated for leading Eid prayers on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, respectively.
Sani Halifa, a leading Tijjaniyya sect scholar in Zaria, had led the Eid prayer on Saturday in response to the directive of the sect’s national leader, Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, who declared Saturday as 1st of Islamic lunar month of Shawwal.
Halifa was reportedly invited and interrogated by the police.before he was latter released.
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Sardauna Limamin Bizara was arrested on Sunday after he led the Eid prayer in Bizara, a suburb on the outskirt of the ancient city of Zaria, along the Zaria-Jos road. Investigation showed that he was also released after interrogation.
Muhammad Tukur Idris was the first to be arrested on Friday, May 22, after he led a Juma’at prayer at a “small mosque” along Agoro-Gaskiya road, opposite Inna-Idea plaza.
Investigation shows that up to Tuesday, Idris was still at the Kaduna state’s police command Criminal Investigation Department (CID), four days after his arrest.
A visit to the mosque by our correspondent showed that the mosque can hardly accommodate 20 worshippers at the same time.
One of the congregation members said, “Actually this mosque was meant for five daily prayers. It is not a Juma’at mosque. However, because of the fact that we have not observe Juma’at prayers for nine weeks, we requested Malam Tukur to lead us; at least to observe one Juma’at prayer in the holy month of Ramadan.
“Sincerely, the idea of the Juma’at prayer was not his. It was introduced to him and he agreed. As you know, in the whole of Northern Nigeria, it is only in Kaduna state that Muslims went without Juma’at prayer for nine weeks and we are still counting; all in the name of fighting corona. Our appeal is for the release of our Imam. We are peace-loving people and that is why we obey all the government’s directives, but humiliating our Imams would not augur well for the peace of the state.”
He added, “People are being killed almost on daily basis in Giwa local government, our neighbours. They have not arrested the killers, but they are arresting our Imams because they lead prayers. Some of us that have farms in Giwa and Birnin Gwari roads have abandoned them, because of insecurity. Addressing this insecurity should be their priority, because, unlike corona, it is killing people in hundreds.”
Sani Yakubu, the Chairman of JIBWIS (Izala) in Zaria, confirmed that Malam Idris was still in the custody of police, as all attempts to secure his bail failed.
When contacted, Kaduna state police command’s spokesperson, ASP Muhammad Jalige, said he would confirm the position of Idris’ case and get back to our correspondent. He did not up to the time of filing this report.