Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has lambasted Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for demolishing the Trans-Amadi Central Mosque in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The mosque was demolished on Tuesday 20th August, 2019 by the Rivers State government.
According to MURIC, the demolition is the most odious and insidious attack on an Islamic landmark in that part of the country in recent times.
This was made known to the media in a statement issued to newsmen on Monday by the Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
MURIC said, “This demolition exercise is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is an exhibition of gross, undiluted Islamophobia and the most odious and insidious attack on an Islamic landmark in that part of the country in recent times. It is another evidence showing that established thugs have seized the reins of power in certain government houses in Nigeria.
“Both the Chief Imam of Trans-Amadi Central Mosque, Alhaji Haroon Muhammed and the Secretary, Alhaji Aliyu Sadiq have provided evidence proving that due process was followed in purchasing the land. Yet the state government has been harassing the mosque management for years. The mosque has been demolished twice in the past.
“The Muslims had no option than to approach the court. Two cases were instituted at the State High court. One was to restrain the government from taking over the land and the other was for compensation for the loss incurred by the Muslims for the damages done to their properties (the building that was demolished and the properties in the mosque damaged as a result of the demolition).
“The Muslims won both cases. The court judgement in favour of the Muslims was given on 2nd November, 2017. Though the government appealed against the second case which is about compensation for damages and the case is still ongoing at the Appeal Court, it did not appeal the one restraining it from taking over the land. The Muslims of Rivers State are therefore the bona fide owners of that land.
“It proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the demolition of Tuesday 20th August 2019 was done in contempt of court. A mosque is demolished while there is a case on it at an appellate court. The level of impunity manifested by Governor Nyesom Wike has confirmed the fear expressed by Lord Acton in his 1887 letter addressed to Bishop Mandell Creighton that ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
“Or how do we explain a situation whereby a state governor ignores all legal process and proceeds to send thugs and fake mobile policemen to destroy a mosque? It is interesting to note that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of that area challenged the task forceon the ground that he was not aware of any demolition order.
“They replied that the order was from the State House but they had to withdraw because they could not produce a written order when the DPO requested for it. This happened twice: 29th July and 16th August, 2019 before they eventually came for the demolition on 20th August when they returned yesterday with more touts, fake mobile policemen and bulldozers.”