As the crisis rocking the renowned Islamic movement, Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen became messier, the Chief Imam of the Federal Prison, Ile-Ife in Osun State, Malam Muritala Akanbi Tadese was battered.
He was reportedly battered by a soldier identified as Corporal Muritala Ibrahim on Monday, Daily Trust reports.
The soldier was said to have come as bodyguard of the factional President of the organization, Malam Daood Molaasan to the venue of a reconciliation meeting held at the Islahudeen Government Middle School, Oke-Afo in Iwo, Osun State.
Daily Trust gathered that an argument ensued between the two factions of the group during the meeting and the soldier attacked the Chief Imam of the Ile-Ife Prison with his military belt and battered the Muslim cleric to the extent that the Imam was bleeding from the nose.
The meeting was deadlock as a result of the incident and the matter was reported at the Divisional Police Headquarters in Iwo.
The soldier was arrested by the police and he was detained for interrogation while the Imam has been rushed to hospital for medical treatment.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye confirmed the arrest of the soldier over the incident.
He said the matter is under investigation to establish whether he is truly a military personnel and the reason for his action which eventually scuttled the efforts of the police to resolve the crisis.
The CP who spoke through the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Folasade Odoro said “The Osun State Police Command was trying to resolve the crisis rocking the Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen and we were very careful about this matter because religious matters are very sensitive.”
“It was the police command who advised the parties to meet and resolve the crisis amicably among themselves but we were surprised that someone who claimed to be a military personnel went there and assaulted one of the Muslim cleric who was part of the meeting.”
“We are trying to establish the true identity of that soldier so as to know whether he is a real soldier or not. If he is a real soldier, then, we shall inform the Army authority for necessary actions”, CP Adeoye told Daily Trust.
The factional president of the Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen, Dr. Shafi’i Abdul Azeez Bello described the action of the soldier as barbaric and urged the Nigerian Army and the Army Commission to investigate his action and punish him appropriately so as not to erode the confidence of the citizenry in the military.
Dr. Shafi’i said: “It was very unfortunate that someone that is in the best position to protect us as citizens of this country could harass assault, brutalised and battered an Imam like a common criminal or like a worthless fowl. We urge the Army authority in this country to investigate this matter dispassionately and punish this soldier appropriately so as to prevent the reoccurrence of such ugly experience”.
But Malam Molaasan said it was not the soldier that battered the Imam, claiming that the cleric sustained the injury when fight ensued at the meeting.
He said the soldier only dealt with the person that attempted to fight him.
“They (Dr. Shafi’I faction) also brought their security men. One of the security men from their side attempted to fight the soldier. The soldier whipped him just twice. Then, the Imam started recording what happened with his phone and he was prevented from recording it. The soldier was not the one that attacked the Imam. We were also surprised to see blood coming out from his nose,” Malam Molaasan said.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola had set up a special committee to resolve the matter and ensure peace among the members of the organization.
The reconciliation committee set up by the governor is headed by Amir Hajj in the state, Malam Sikirulah Hassan.
In a chat with Daily Trust, a top official of the Department of State Security Service in Osun State who preferred anonymity said the DSS was worried over the situation in the Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen and that the crisis must be nip in the bud so as not to degenerate further.
“When you consider the influence of Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen, you will realise that the current trend is dangerous. We don’t want it to go out of hand. The group has 55 branches and it is spreading very fast with strong influence on most of the politicians in the state. So, we are concerned with the current situation”.