Ekiti Muslims Protest Against Plans To Demolish Mosques Built Within Petrol Stations

Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti state

Muslims yesterday crowed ekiti state to protest against alleged plans by the Ayo Fayose administration to demolish mosques built within petrol stations.

The protest was triggered by the marking of a mosque built inside a filling station owned by a petrol dealer, Alhaji Sulaiman Akinbami, for demolition by the officials of the Ministry of Environment on Monday.

The ministry officials, who claimed to be acting on order from above, said the government has issued a directive that all mosques built within filling stations will be demolished because “worshippers can contract cancer from effects of radioactive emission”.

The protesters, acting under the aegis of the state chapter of National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), marched on the streets of Ado-Ekiti as early as 7.30 am, warning Fayose against the planned action.

Chanting Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!! Allahu Akbar !!!, the protesters marched from Ado-Ekiti Central Mosque in Oja Oba to the home of the Grand Imam, who also doubles as the president of League of Imams and Alfas in Southwest, Edo and Delta states, Sheikh Jamiu Kewulere Bello in Odo Ado.
The protesters went to the palace of the Ewi, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, to register their disapproval.
Addressing them, Kewulere advised them against violence, promising to seek an audience with Fayose on the development as early as possible to find a solution.

Kewulere said: “Islam is a religion of peace and we have respect for leadership, so I beg that you allow the Muslim leaders to look into this matter. We don’t want you to take laws into your hands because this state belongs to all of us.
“We are going to meet with the governor to actually get the true position of things and we will do all that we need to do for peaceful resolution of this issue.”

The state NACOMYO Coordinator, Tajudeen Ahmed, described the proposed demolition as an attempt by the Fayose administration to muzzle, denigrate and oppress Muslims.

“We are not violent people and we believe in leadership. We want to plead with Governor Fayose to reverse this action. How can a mosque located behind a petrol station constitute a health hazard to worshipers?

“Besides, it has been in existence for over a decade and if it can affect the worshipers, what would then happen to those selling the product?”

‘Why we’re demolishing mosques’

The Ekiti State government has said the planned demolition of places of worship within filling stations is to protect lives.

Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Taelolu Otitoju said: “The reason behind the move is the recent fire at a petrol filling station in Ado Ekiti and we want to ensure that few people converge on petrol stations as possible.

“it is not safe to build a place of worship in a petrol station”.

“With a church or a mosque in a station, the tendency is for people to gather there from time to time and it is not safe.
“We have to notify the people affected and we have done that.”

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