There was outrage among Muslims in Kaduna after the state government demanded N500, 000 from the Tijaniyya sect for the use of the Murtala Muhammad Square for Eid prayer.
The square has been used for Eid prayers for over 50 years.
Daily Trust reports that the Tijaniyya Mosque at Doka Road, Kaduna, had written to the Kaduna State Market Development and Management Company for approval to use the Eid ground.
But the state agency attached an invoice of N500, 000 to its response letter dated July 6, 2022, asking the Tijaniyya Mosque management to pay the sum in five days.
“You may recall our numerous engagements on this issue since 2020. Further to this, we will allow you to use the square for the last time for Eid prayers. To this end, you are required to pay the sum of N500, 000 only,” the agency’s letter, sighted by Daily Trust, said.
Since the letter was leaked online, several Muslims in the state have condemned the state government’s action.
Our correspondent reports that the state government reversed its decision following the public outrage that trailed the payment request.
Speaking with Daily Trust, the Secretary of the Murtala Muhammad Eid Ground, Malam Sunusi Surajo, confirmed the N500,000 request.
He said: “It is true that we were asked to pay N500,000 before using the Eid ground but we spoke with a government representative and the government reversed its decision, saying that we should go ahead and use the square without payment.”
A Kaduna-based Islamic Scholar and one of the preachers at the Murtala Square Mosque, Shaikh Haliru Maraya, described the government reversal as an afterthought.
He said the government’s decision came to them as a surprise because Muslims had been praying at the square many years ago.
Former Director General, Bureau for Interfaith, Shaikh Jamil Albany, denied the claims that payment was made into the government account before the decision was reversed.
The Market Development and Management Company, in a statement yesterday by its Managing Director, Tamar Nandul, said Governor Nasir El-rufai has approved a waiver for the mosque.
“We are pleased to inform you of the governor’s decision to waive the fee for the use of the square for Eid prayer,” Nandul said.