By Rabiu Jamiu, Ile-Ife with agency report
THERE are strong indications that the Nigeria Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, no longer enjoys much loyalty from members of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Muslim Community.
Shittu bagged his first degree in law in the OAU.
Our correspondent gathered that most members of the Muslim community felt ‘disappointed’ with Shittu over alleged blackmail of the OAU Central Mosque Chief Imam, Alhaji Sanusi.
It was gathered that Shittu allegedly pointed accusing fingers at the Chief Imam over the attempted closure of two mosques in OAU.
Recall that the OAU’s Division of Student Affairs (DSA) had issued a circular to close down the Awolowo and Fajuyi mosques in the institution.
A circular earlier posted by the Division of Student Affairs of OAU accused the splinter group of MSSN-OAU, alleged to be controlled by the Salafiyyah group, of engaging in extremism, acts likely to lead to terrorism, and harbouring of females.
The circular also allegedly likened some activities in the mosque to be similar to that of a brothel and prostitution.
The two mosque attempted to be closed down are in control of the Splinter group of MSSN.
Before now, there have been leadership crisis rocking the MSSN OAU – Read more at – http://www.iwitness.com.ng/?s=oau
A source among the university Muslim Community said, “They (splinter group of MSSN-OAU) sought the assistance of Shittu, which is expected. Instead of calling us to confirm or hear the other side of the story, he went ahead to start spreading wrong information about the whole situation.”
Another source revealed to our correspondent that some Muslim elders met on the issue and have outlined methods of reducing the Minister’s influence on OAU Muslim Community.
“When he became Minister, we celebrated him and even invited him here. We won the hearts of many for him to the extend of allowing him to address the congregation after a jumaat service, where he declared his governorship ambition.
“Now, the same set of people that were abusing us of bringing a politician to address the congregation and campaign on the mimbar have seen him as a tool to impose positions on us,” a loyalist to the Muslim Community told our correspondent.
In a related development, the Pro-Chancellor of OAU, who doubles as Etsu Nupe of Niger State, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, has summoned the Chief Imam of OAU.
The Chief Imam confirmed this while delivering a sermon on Friday.
He warned students to stop spreading rumours about him, clarifying that he had nothing to do with MSSN-OAU crisis.
He also urged those intervening in the crisis to do so fairly without defaming any personality.
Meanwhile, a faction of the MSSN in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Osun State, says its members are law abiding citizens.
It said this in reaction to claims made by some people that the MSSN members were extremists and used female students as sex slaves.
The MSSN Secretary-General, Gbolahan Yusuf, in a statement he sent to the Daily Trust, said that the allegations were made by people seeking to cause disunity among Muslims in the institution.
The statement said: “Yes, religious prejudice reigns supreme in our society, but are we not old and educated enough to eschew some parochial views? That you hold views we don’t share means you should engage in blatant slur? Our religion says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin.”
The statement said that the MSSN condemned extremism, in all its ramifications, and other bad ideologies on the campus.
Muslim students on the OAU campus, however, claimed that the Vice Chancellor of the OAU, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, came to unofficially inspect the mosque on Sunday.
Attempt to reach Shittu and his aides proved abortive.