Crisis broke out in Iwo town in Osun State, as a soldier is reported to have beaten and battered the Chief Imam of the Federal Prison, Ile-Ife in Osun State, Malam Muritala Akanbi Tadese, just as the crises rocking the renowned Islamic Movement, Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen became messier.
The soldier, Corporal Muritala Ibrahim, according to the report gathered by Channels Television’s correspondent in Osun State, is said to be serving in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He had come as bodyguard of the factional President of the organisation, Malam Daood Molaasan to the venue of a reconciliation meeting held at the Islahudeen Government Middle School, Oke-Afo in Iwo, Osun State.
Channels Television gathered from a member of the sect, who prefered not to be mentioned 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 later arrested by the police and he was detained for interrogation while the injured Imam was rushed to the hospital for medical treatment.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, confirmed the arrest of the soldier over the incident.
He said the matter was under investigation to establish whether he was really a military personnel and the reason for his action which eventually scuttled the efforts of the police to resolve the crises.
The Commissioner of Police, who spoke through the spokesperson for the police in the state, Folasade Odoro said “the Osun State Police Command was trying to resolve the crises rocking the Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen and we Are very careful about this matter because religious matters are very sensitive.
“It was the police command that advised the parties to meet and resolve the crises 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 Channels Television.
‘Not The Soldier’
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 Nigerian Army.
Dr. Shafi’I said: “It was very unfortunate that someone that is in 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 a 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,” he 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 organisation.
The reconciliation committee set up by the governor is headed by Amir Hajj in the state, Malam Sikirulah Hassan.
In a chat with Channels Television’s correspondent in the state, Bosede Sodiq, a top official of the Department of State Service in Osun State who also requested that he should not be named, said the DSS was worried over the situation in the Jama’at Ta’awunnil Muslimeen and that the crises must be nipped 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,” the source said.