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NSCIA Scribe, Ambassador to UK, Others Move to End Tussle Which Trailed Suspension of Chief Imam of Egbaland

• Appeal to Egba Muslim community members to sheathe their sword

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Prominent indigenes of Egbaland have intervened in the tussle which has followed the suspension of the Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Saad Bamgbola.

Leaders, including the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, who is also Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs as well as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Baba Adeen of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta States, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Ishola, have appealed to the entire members of the Egba Muslim community to sheathe their sword on the consequent suspension of the Egba chiefs, who were part of the decision against the Imam.

The leaders all urged the Muslim faithful to embrace peace and unity among Muslims at this point.

Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta virtually from the United Kingdom, Ishola disclosed that he and Oloyede, as high stakeholders, had fully engaged all those involved in the dispute in serious peace talks and urged them to ceasefire immediately.

He also disclosed that they had persuaded all those involved to maintain the peace and not to take any further action that might aggravate the already tense situation, adding that they had accepted a ceasefire, pending further action to resolve all the issues.

The high commissioner revealed that further steps are being taken at the level of the Alake of Egbaland for an enduring resolution that would promote peace, mutual respect and understanding among the Muslim leadership and followership within the Egba Muslim community.

Enjoining all Muslim leaders involved in the crisis not to issue or make further press statements concerning the matter until further notice, he noted that it is in the best interest of Islamic peace, progress and prosperity, that Islamic schism must be avoided at all costs, in Egbaland, Ogun State and elsewhere in Nigeria.

It was reported that some notable Muslims in Egbaland on Monday, had announced the suspension of Bamgbola, over allegations of “high-handedness, administrative exclusivity, mishandling of funds and conflicting of interest between his position as the Chief Imam and membership of another association.”

The aggrieved Egba Muslim chiefs, said to have been led by the former Military Administrator of Bauchi State, Navy Captain Rasheed Raji (retd.), had on Monday, announced the suspension of the Chief Imam and appointed a second-in-command.

Imams and Alfas in the Egba community, in reaction, had rejected the suspension of the grand Chief Imam by the chiefs.

According to them, the decision is an “embarrassment to the Islamic religion and an act capable of causing religious war in the town.”

Three principal Chief Imams of the three sections of Egbaland, had addressed newsmen in Abeokuta on Tuesday, condemning the purported suspension of the grand Chief Imam of Egbaland.

Imams of Owu, Gbagura and Oke-Ona Egba, Alhaji Kehinde Sulaimon; Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun and Alhaji Muslimudeen Nasirudeen, had said only the council of Islamic clerics in the town had the power to appoint or suspend the Chief Imam.

Speaking on behalf of the Muslim community after a meeting at Kobiti Central Mosque in Abeokuta on Tuesday, Balogun said the suspension of the grand Chief Imam was null and void.

The suspension, he added, did not follow the stipulated process of appointment and removal of Imams in the land.

Balogun added that the action was ill-conceived and capable of causing a religious war in the town, insisting that the four sections that make up Egbaland must be carried along in the appointment or suspension of the Chief Imam.

“We, the Chief Imam of Oke Ona, Alhaji Muslimudeen Nasirudeen, Chief Imam of Gbagura, Prof Kamarudeen Balogun and the Chief Imam of Owu, Alhaji Kehinde Suliamon, on behalf of all Egba Muslims, hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Alade Bamgbola as the only custodian of Islamic religion in Egbaland.

“We unequivocally condemn the action of the selected Chiefs in Egbaland to suspend the Chief Imam of Egbaland, without proper consultations with all the Imams in all the sections of Egbaland.

“The selected Egba chiefs, led by Navy Captain Rasheed Raji have no power to suspend the grand Chief Imam of Egbaland who was unanimously appointed by all custodians of Islamic religion in Egbaland.

“The Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Bamgbola should by virtue of all the principal Imams in Egbaland and by virtue of the position that you have taken here, the Imams and Alfas, continue to carry out all the spiritual functions of the Islamic region without any hindrance,” the Islamic leaders stated.

Announcing the suspension of the Egba chiefs who took part in the suspension, Balogun said, “We hereby affirm and confirm that those who have suspended the Chief Imam are hereby suspended themselves.

“They are: Baba Adinni, Navy Captain Rasheed Raji; Chief Abdulquadri Orunsolu, Seriki Egba; Chief Ibrahim Abudulateef Ayoola, Baba Isale Egba, Alhaji Usman Akanbi and Bada Egbaland, Chief Sherifdeen Ogunrinola, the Olori Ratibi, Durojaiye Afuape.

“Because they have done this without taking us along, that is why we are dissociating ourselves from their decision and they are hereby suspended until further notice,” he said.

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