By Abbas Jimoh, Faruk Shuaibu & Baba Martins
The committee overseeing the affairs of the Apo Legislators’ Quarters mosque has announced the sack of its suspended imam, Sheikh Nuru Khalid.
Recall that the imam was suspended on Friday following a sermon he made during the Friday prayer in the mosque.
In the sermon, the sheikh flayed the government over its failure to tame the escalating insecurity and killings in the country.
The imam hinted at some measures that the electorate should devise should the authorities fail to protect lives.
He had said, “Nigerian masses should resort to only one term which is – protect our lives, we will come out to vote and you will leave us to be killed. We will not come out to vote, since it’s only elections that you people know.”
Defending the mosque committee’s action, Senator Saidu Muhammed Dansadau, who is its chairman, accused the Sheikh of inciting public outrage.
The imam later said he was not given a fair hearing, adding that he only read about his suspension.
In a press release yesterday by the mosque to confirm the sack, it said the action was taken due to the non-remorseful attitude exhibited by the imam.
While stating that the earlier decision was to correct Sheikh Khalid’s behaviour, the statement explained that his media reaction to the suspension created the impression that he was not remorseful of his actions.
But reacting yesterday, the cleric said the termination of his appointment was a necessary price he had to pay for identifying with the suffering masses.
“My sack is a reflection of how Nigeria is today. “This is the price we pay for aligning with the people and identifying with their sufferings. By the Grace of Almighty Allah, I will be leading my new congregation this Friday, because as clerics we need a platform for operating,” he said.
Clampdown won’t conquer Nigeria – PDP
Also reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the clampdown on the cleric for speaking truth to power on the failure and refusal of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to defend Nigerians from terrorists is a dangerous trend of fascism in the country.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja yesterday cautioned the APC to note that suppressing the concerns of citizens and resorting to fascist measures was capable of triggering widespread social restiveness and escalating the already tensed situation in the country.
The opposition party said APC’s recourse to an onslaught on the voice of citizens as witnessed in the clampdown on religious leaders, the opposition, the civil society and the media indicated an unacceptable descent to tyranny and imposition of a siege mentality to suppress dissenting voices in the face of APC’s manifest failure.