Mosques, Buildings Vandalised, 13 Injured •25 Arraigned Over Fracas

MUSLIM community in Sabo area of Ibadan, Oyo State, has turned the almost-ending Ramadan period into a gory sight as two Islamic sects tore themselves to shreds.

Apart from engaging in blood-letting at a time the members are expected to be sober and prayerful apart from abstaining from sinful acts for 30 ,more than 13 people were critically injured from violent attacks in which cutlasses, knives and other dangerous weapons, were freely used.

At the end of the bloody fracas between members of the Izalat and Tijaniyah Islamic sects, several houses, cars worth several millions of Naira, were also completely destroyed.

It took the intervention of the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Aare Azeez Arisekola, as well as the state Police Command to quell the disturbances.

Our investigations showed that the bone of contention revolved around the method of preaching by the two warring groups, as well as the application of Public Address System, which both groups considered as offensive.

To make the matter worse, the resort by the warring groups to usage of offensive words against each other, reached a crescendo during a special Muslim prayers.

The clash between the two groups, which has remained a recurring incident in the area, has seen the Aare Musulimi intervening to no avail.

Already, 25 suspects have been arraigned before an Ibadan Chief Magistrate Court on various charges involving alleged public disturbance and contempt, over the fracas.

The Sarkin Sabo, Alhaji Ahmed Zungeru, has described the incident as “unfortunate.”

Dependable sources a cleric from Jos, Plateau State, Mallam Kalid Usman, who was invited by the Izala sect leaders, was being accused of allegedly “igniting the imbroglio”

Aside from injuries sustained mainly by Izalat group members, three identified mosques in the area were vandalized by the opposing group.
Similarly, four vehicles packed beside the Izalat mosque during the clashes, were equally not spared as the irate ‘extremists’ smashed the windscreen of two sport utility vehicles and two others.

We reliably gathered that one of the warring groups was making inciting statements against the other, a development that was greeted with chaos.

When our correspondent visited the area, there was relative calm, while duty policemen were still mounting 24-hour surveillance.

Meanwhile, the 25 suspects arraigned in court over the violent disturbances, have pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge preferred against them.

The Chief Magistrate, Sofiat Oyediran, subsequently granted them bail for N100,000 each with two sureties in like sum.

The suspects cut across the two sects, the Izalat and Tijaniyah, who were involved in the unrest that left 13 persons injured and several properties destroyed.

Police prosecutor, A.O Ojeh, accused the 25 suspects of allegedly contravening an earlier order of the court which prohibited the use of microphones by either of the two groups by preaching inciting sermon and disturbing public peace.

This, according to Ojeh was contrary to and punishable under section 133 of the criminal code cap 38 laws of Oyo state.

Besides, 10 of the suspects were accused of destroying valuables including a jeep valued at N1.3m; motorcycles, and household items, an action contrary to section 451 of the criminal code cap 38 laws of Oyo state.

Their action is said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 133 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State Nigeria 2000.
The remaining 15 other suspects, who are members of the Tijaniyah group, were arraigned on a five-count charge that include preaching inciting sermon, wilful and unlawful damage of properties including a Land Rover Freelander Jeep, motorcycle, roofing sheets ceiling fans and a generating set as well as wilful and unlawful assault occasioned by bodily harm.

While members of the Tijaniya group were represented by Mr. Waheed Olajide, an Ibadan based legal practitioner, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu represented the Izalat group.

In their oral applications before the court, counsel representing the suspects, pleaded for bail to the accused persons pointing out that “the charges are bail able.”

Further hearing in the matter has been fixed for September 16.