By Laleye Dipo
For contravening the rules put in place for the observance of this year’s Eid-el-Fitri last Sunday and preaching in the state, three imams have been relieved of their positions by the Niger State Government.
The state government had directed through its Covid-19 Taskforce that the Eid prayers should be said in designated mosques and not at the traditional eid prayer grounds, while women and children were also barred from the prayers.
The action of the government is based on the recommendations of a 15-man Crisis and Conflict Management Committee set up by the Bureau for Religious Affairs to check the affairs of religious leaders and their activities in the state.
The committee in its report indicted the clerics.
Those relieved of their positions are Alhaji Abdullahi Ndakogi of Batagi mosque in Bida emirate, Malam Mohammed Idris of Bosso estate mosque in Minna emirate and Awal Yussuf of Kontagora emirate.
According to a statement by the Director General, Bureau for Religious Affairs, Dr Umar Farouq, Ndakogi was stripped of his title as the Imam Ratibi of Batagi and has been replaced with another cleric.
The statement signed on behalf of the Director General by his Personal Assistant, Malam Mustapha Tauheed, Idris of Bosso Estate was suspended for violating the rules set by the state government on “Tarawih and Tahajjud prayers”.
The cleric has been directed to hand over to his Na’eebi (second in command).
According to the statement, Yusuf from Kontagora Emirate was found guilty of using inciting words and blackmail in his Eid sermon.
He was suspended from any public preaching for one year.
He was also directed to write a letter of undertaking to make peace and also apologize to the government, Kontagora emirate and general public, though the cleric was said to have pleaded for mercy.