By Robiu Jamiu, Ile-Ife

Investigation by the iWitness NG revealed that both Awolowo and Fajuyi halls mosques at the Obafemi Awolowo University have not been shut down yet.

It was gathered that prayers have continued to hold since Friday against reports circulating that the mosques were already closed down.

When our correspondent visited the mosques on Sunday, students were seen observing salat and engaging in other acts of worship.

It was also learnt that the Division of Students Affairs’ (DSA) of the OAU has given Monday ultimatum for the splinter group of the MSSN-OAU to reconcile all “necessary differences”.

“The deputy DSA already came to address us on Friday and we told him to give us till next week to get the issues resolved. After explaining our position on the matter to him, we agreed on Monday,” one of the students said after leading Asr on Friday.

In a circular earlier posted by the DSA, the splinter group of MSSN-OAU, alleged to be controlled by the Salafiyyah group, was accused of engaging in 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.

However, the allegations were debunked by the splinter group in a broadcast message.

The message read in part, “Clearly naive, she (Acting Dean of DSA, Dr. (Mrs) G. O Akinola) went into the mosque from the male side and started banging on the door from that side, in the name of knocking, in a bid to gain access to the female side. The ridiculousness of the situation was clearly manifest in the slowness of the sisters from their section of the mosque to open the door she was knocking, for they are not used to sudden knocks on their door from the brother’s side at any other time except during the time for academic tutorials and arabic classes which have fixed times.

“So they were slow to open the door, and when it was eventually opened and Madam DSA barged in, the only explanation she could give was that these sisters were slow to open the door because they are prostitutes, and the mosque where we all worship our lord, she claims, is where they ply their trade!

“We have seen this, and before we see more, we are challenging her to employ all the might in her possession to bring out subtantive evidence that there are brothels in the mosques and that it is breeding prostitutes.

“The DSA hasn’t made its research enough despite the surplus sources of information as regards what really happened at the central mosque that day.

“On her mention of suggesting closure of the mosques while we go and reach agreement on “doctrinal or worship issues”.

“On her bizarre claim of girls being “locked” “in a room” in the mosque “by their leaders. We don’t find it surprising that she is even unaware of the plain and common fact that Muslims have separate places of worship sectioned separately for males and females in all mosques.

“On her claim that the said girls she met in their side of the mosque are “locked” there by their leaders, we have nothing to say except “…supplicate earnestly and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars” Qur’an 3 vs 61.”

Also, the immediate past president of the National Association of Students of English and Literary Studies (NASELS), OAU, Sodiq Oyeleke, described the attempted closure as a rude shock, unpleasant and condemnable.

The former president of the most populous departmental association on OAU said this while commenting on the closure issue on an islamic Whatsapp group.

He wrote, “Though, one may allege extremism, which is common among student-faithful of different religions, the accusation that ‘Boko Haram’ related activities may be carried out in the mosque is false and there is no cause to allege prostitution because inter mingling among genders do not even occur in the mosque.

“Also, we must desist from name calling and blackmail that such approach by the school management is fuelled by certain individual (s) or group. The concern of the Division of Students Affairs is clear. It is the fact that someone must be responsible for the activities and happenings in the mosques. That person is the Chief Imam and he’s not ready to do that for obvious reasons, which he shouldn’t be blamed for.”

Oyeleke, popularly known as SDK, said that if truly the intention of the the splinter group was to protect the interests of Muslim students, then it shouldn’t be difficult for it to embrace re-dialogue and bury its ego.

He added, “One would suggest that a caretaker committee be considered; the committee should comprise seven members; the recognised MSSN-OAU brings three persons(one female, two males); the splinter group brings three persons (one female, two males) and the Muslim Community brings just a person.”

He continued, “The persons must not be part of the executives of both groups at any level; the person (s) must be a legal occupant of the hall of residence where the mosque he is nominated is; such committee should be created in both Fajuyi and Awo mosques.”

To avoid foul play, he noted that “the assets of the mosque, except the ones needed for salat on daily basis should not be handed over yet.”

He further explained that “the above submission is premised on the reality that the cause of the attempted closure is beyond the allegations raised by DSA and getting the real issues resolved may require some months. Do we leave the mosque closed until then?”

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