There is a stalemate over the position of the Chief Imam of Epe, one of the divisions in Lagos State, as two clerics are laying claim to the position.
There was a major scuffle on Friday following an attempt by the two clerics to lead the Juma’at prayers; the development which led to a breakdown of law and order.
The Central Mosque at Ita Opo has however been locked on the orders of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2.
Our correspondent learnt yesterday that the mosque would remain locked pending an amicable resolution of the crisis.
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A video had been trending on social media showing the Chief Imam, Alhaji Abdullateef Oladapo being taken away by the police.
This followed the presence of two (2) Imams including Alhaji Abdulkabir Oriyomi who were inching to lead the Jumat prayers for the congregation on Friday, 22nd September, 2023.
It was learnt that the state government through the Office of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, sensing a palpable tension over the pending leadership tussle in the mosque, had sent a detachment of mobile police officers to maintain law and order.
Despite the presence of security men, the two claimants stormed the mosque attempting to lead the Juma’at prayers, which led to the arrest of Oladapo amidst protest from his supporters who accused the police of bias for arresting one party in the crisis.
Supporters of the two Imams were said to be exchanging abuses among themselves even as a part of the pulpit was allegedly damaged by angry worshipers who were not happy with the situation of things.
Following the intervention of some leaders of the community, the arrested Imam was released but with an undertaking not to cause any breakdown of law and order.
Our correspondent learnt that some members of the community removed Oladapo over alleged arrogance and high-handedness; the allegations, which have been dismissed.
It was learnt that Oladapo was made the Chief Imam following a 2012 agreement, which moved Oriyomi to another Mosque within the Epe division.
However, a member of the Peace Committee of the Central Mosque, Alhaji Fariu Arebi in a chat with our correspondent said the committee is exploring an amicable resolution to the crisis even as he said some members of the community are breaching the 2012 agreement.
He said while the mosque remains locked on the order of the AIG, efforts are ongoing by all stakeholders to resolve the lingering crisis.
An indigene of Epe who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said the crisis over the Chief Imam has been an age-long crisis fuelled by the lingering division in Epe between the Epe-Lagos and Epe-Ijebu in Ogun State.