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October 20, 2023

Disregard campaign of calumny against Wike, National Mosque tells Ummah

Disregard campaign of calumny against Wike, National Mosque tells Ummah

(L-R): Engr. Ahmad, Amb. Shuaib and Dr Adam

Omeiza Ajayi

The Abuja National Mosque Management Board has described fake, social media reports alleging that the Federal Capital Territory FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike had approved a partial demolition of the monument, urging the Muslim faithful to disregard the same.

Describing the report as the handiwork of conflict merchants bent on creating religious tension in the nation and casting the minister in a bad light, the board said its Wednesday’s visit to the minister was fruitful as he received them warmly and granted approval of their requests.

The Board, led by its Chairman, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, had visited the minister on Wednesday to seek clarification on the status of its plots, 63 and 99, in the wake of the administration’s drive to recover all ground rents debts.

At the meeting, Wike extended the three-month ultimatum to religious groups since they largely depend on freewill donations from members.

“We know the finances of religious groups, they are handicapped as they are not business people, and it is only when people come to support them.

“In such areas, we can say on religious grounds, instead of three months, we can give additional time but it is not targeted at anybody or group. Now you have come and explained, which reasonable man would not accept it. So our people should stop saying he is targeting so group or religion or ethnic group, no, it is for the interest of all of us.

“We will extend it, so we will not restrict it to three months for you, as a religious group, because there is no money as people come to support you. And it is only when they support that you can carry out whatever you are doing”, the minister had stated.

Stating that the President Bola Tinubu administration respects all faith and would not discriminate against anyone, the minister recalled how as governor of Rivers state, he was accused of demolishing a mosque which never existed in the first place.

Director of Finance and Administration of the National Mosque, Ambassador Haliu Shuaib and Imam of the mosque, Dr Muhammad Kabir Adam who addressed a press conference hosted by Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmad, said “the Mosque is, hereby, debunking the news of partial demolition of the National Mosque and wishes to set the records straight”.

Shuaib said; “It has come to the attention of the Abuja National Mosque Management, of a news Item making the around in social and print media regarding the purported partial demolition of the National Mosque which is creating tension and anxiety amongst the Muslim Ummah in the country and beyond.

“His Royal Highness, Etsu Nupe, Chairman, Abuja National Mosque Management Board and his delegation paid a courtesy visit on the Hon. Minister of the FCT. The delegation was warmly received and the discussions were constructive as well as cordial and issues of mutual interest were discussed as follows:

“Development of plot 99: The Minister was briefed that the development of the plot was receiving serious attention to the extent that the design of the project to be executed had been approved by the Development Control Department of FCDA.

“Development of Plot 63-opposite Yar’adua Centre: The Chairman also briefed the Hon. Minister that the Management of the Mosque was informed that substantial part of plot 63 had been consumed by the proposed Inner Northern Express Way. The Chairman, therefore, requested to know the current status of the plot and also that the remaining part of the plot be re-allocated to the Mosque and appropriate replacement of the lost portion be given to the Mosque and the Hon. Minister’s response was positive.

“Renovation of the Mosque: The Chairman used the opportunity to appeal to the Hon. Minister to use his good offices to complete the rehabilitation/renovation of the National Mosque which the Hon. Minister promised to look at the issue.

“The National Mosque wishes to inform the general public that during the meeting between the Board Chairman and the Honourable Minister, there was never a time the Honourable Minister mentioned the demolition of any part of the National Mosque. He, however, gave example of demolishing of a Mosque in Port Court which did not exist when he was a Governor. Like what happened now, he revealed that social media can cause confusion in the society if care is not taken.

“The general public should, therefore, ignore the social and print media campaign and completely disregard the fake news in circulation”.

Earlier, the FCDA boss said the minister had told his guests that he not not been briefed about the status of a plot belonging to the mosque, part of which is affected by a road interchange.

Accordingly, Wike has given the FCDA 24 hours to being him up to speed on the issue with a view to compensating the mosque for the portion of its undeveloped land, Plot 63, lost to the road interchange.

“We have complied with the directive and have briefed the minister and he has immediately approved that the excised portion be taken note of and re-issue a title to compensate them for the lost portion.

“Indeed, as a further demonstration of good faith, the Honourable Minister of the FCT, Barr. Nyesom Wike assured the delegation of the support of the FCT Administration in the maintenance of the National Mosque as well as the National Christian Center which are all National Monuments.

“The above explanation is the true and correct reflection of what actually transpired and this could also be further confirmed from the National Mosque Management Board. It is therefore, hoped that this explanation will bring a closure to the so-called National Mosque demolition fallacy”, he stated.

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