Tension Rises as OAU DSA Seals off Two Mosques in Hostels

Tension Rises as OAU DSA Seals off Two Mosques in Hostels
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  •  Oakley Oakley

    The Division of Student Affairs, Obafemi Awolowo university, has directed that two Mosques in the Awolowo and Fajuyi halls of residence, be shut down and sealed off immediately.
    This was made known in a statement signed by the Acting Dean, Division of Student Affairs, Dr. (Mrs) G. O Akinola, and described as a Course of action directed towards forestalling any events that may disrupt the peace in the university community, and to ensure a safe and free atmosphere and prevent any events of insidious nature, especially with the current security dilemma besetting the nation.

    This move followed from a visit from a team of the National executives of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) led by the National president of the society, Muhammad Jameel Muhammad, who expressed concerns over the suspicious activities of a certain "Splinter group" of the Islamic society who had been hitherto nesting in the said Mosques. They appealed to the Division of Student Affairs to investigate the possibility of "emergence on the OAU campus of an extremist group of Muslim students in fashion similar to the current Boko Haram insurgency besetting Nigeria", and further posited their fears concerning the nature of what they described as "their strange doctrinal principles and procedures", which they feared may foster the materialisation of their suspicions.

    On Friday, a statement from the Division of Student Affairs outlined the premises for the decision to seal off the "Mosques". Here is a full transcript of the statement -


    Closure of Awolowo and Fajuyi Halls' 'Mosques': The Story
    and Justification for the Action.
    The Division of Students Affairs (DSA) acting upon the
    Statutes and Regulations of Obafemi Awolowo University
    hereby declares closed until further notice, the two
    purported mosques in Awolowo and Fajuyi Halls for the
    reasons of peace, free movement of students and staff
    within the Halls and the overriding need for the security of
    all persons, assets and installation in the Halls.
    The reasons for this closure are as set out below:
    1. On Friday 12th August, 2016 when the current executive
    members of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria
    (MSSN), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife Branch
    were to be inaugurated at the Central Mosque, the Division
    of Students Affairs (DSA) was invited and was duly
    represented by the Vice Dean of the Division. There were
    issues at the inauguration when we were told of another
    group of Muslim students who wanted to impose
    themselves and their doctrines which are not consistent
    with the Constitution of the MSSN members. At that point
    the Vice-Dean was asked to interact with this group with a
    view to finding out what their arguments and positions
    were;
    2. After the Vice-Dean's interaction with the group (which is
    yet to give a name to itself, although they insisted that they
    should be called MSSN too), we decided to call members
    of the group to a meeting at the DSA. They came on
    Tuesday, 23rd August 2016 at 6.15pm. After several
    attempts at making them attend the parley failed, we
    eventually held a meeting with them on this 23rd August.
    We stressed at the meeting the point that the DSA is only
    aware of the existence of only one MSSN as a registered
    Muslim students' group on the campus of the Obafemi
    Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. We impressed it on the group
    that even the DSA is also aware that the National body of
    the MSSN recognises only one MSSN group here on
    campus. We therefore advised the group to, if they have
    any issue of disagreement between them and the
    mainstream MSSN, please for sake of peace on campus
    and interest of their members take steps to sort them out
    with the Executive of the MSSN on campus.
    3. The meeting deliberated extensively on how to bring this
    settlement about and at the end of it, it was agreed that a
    period of one (1) week be given to permit the group
    interact with the mainstream MSSN and settle their
    disagreement amicably failing which the two 'mosques' at
    Fajuyi and Awolowo Halls would be closed down for peace
    to reign. Note that this splinter group of the MSSN had
    begun to use the two 'mosques' in these Halls as a base
    for their anti-mainstream MSSN rhetorics and doctrinal
    disagreement on campus, including recruitment of students
    for their separate teachings. Note also, that these two
    'mosques', converted as such were originally Cafeteria
    buildings meant for the respective halls under the
    University's master plan. We also agreed at the meeting
    that if the DSA found that they were able to make progress
    on the reconciliation, even if they have not completely
    reached an agreement on doctrinal or worship issues, the
    suggestive closure of the 'mosque' would be suspended to
    permit for more room for rapport and deeper reconciliation.
    We agreed that we were going to meet again on the very
    day that the one-week ultimatum to reconcile expired, that
    is Tuesday 30th August, 2016. Meanwhile, desirous of a
    way to convince the DSA that the splinter group meant well,
    they invited the DSA to visit the two 'mosques' in Fajuyi
    and Awolowo Halls to see that there was nothing sinister in
    the activities of the splinter group and that if anything at all,
    they have been peaceful and law-abiding.
    4. However, on Thursday 25th August, a meeting was held
    with the University recognized MSSN Executive members.
    This same MSSN Executive is also recognised by the OAU
    Muslim Community and by the National body of MSSN in
    Nigeria. That meeting was called to hear the complaints of
    the splinter MSSN members and their grievances. The
    recognized MSSN was informed of the University's plan to
    close the 'mosques' in Fajuyi and Awolowo Halls if the
    splinter group of the MSSN failed to make peace with the
    mainstream MSSN and reconcile accordingly;
    5. On Friday 26th August, the MSSN National body paid a
    courtesy visit to the DSA to discuss the furore over the
    recognized MSSN on campus. The visitation team led by
    the President of the National MSSN, Muhammad Jameel
    Muhammad came in company of the campus mainstream
    MSSN and some of his officials. The thrust of their visit
    was to make a passionate appeal to the DSA on their fear
    for the possibility of "emergence on the OAU campus of an
    extremist group of Muslim students in a fashion similar to
    the current Boko Haram insurgency besetting Nigeria". They
    expressed some fears and strongly felt that the splinter
    MSSN group in OAU and what they referred to as "their
    strange doctrinal principles and procedures" could lead to
    the materialization of such fears. The visitation team
    pleaded with the University through the DSA to do all that
    was lawful and needful to see that such fears were allayed.
    The visitation team also reiterated their support for the
    recognized MSSN mainstream organization and its
    president. In addition, the team gave a copy of the MSSN
    Constitution and 5 copies of the articles of faith of the
    MSSN titled "MSSN at a Glance" to the DSA;
    6. On the night of 27th August, 2016 reports came to the
    Acting Dean, DSA, that the splinter MSSN group were
    planning to hold a religious programme in Awolowo Hall
    Cafeteria the following day (i.e. 28th August, 2016), for
    which they had not sought or obtained permission. The
    Acting Dean reported to the University Chief Security Officer
    who immediately sent a group of his men to see how things
    would go with a view to apprehending any illegality or
    untoward behaviours and report forthwith. Report came that
    the religious programme held and that the leaders of the
    splinter MSSN presided at that programme. The point here
    is that the group failed to seek or secure approval for this
    religious activity in the Cafeteria.
    7. However, on the night preceding the expiration of the
    ultimatum given to the Splinter MSSN group, to make
    peace with the mainstream MSSN and reconcile
    accordingly, a text message was sent to the Vice Dean,
    DSA, from the Splinter MSSN group that they had contacted
    someone who would help broker the reconciliation talks
    and that the person said he would see the Chief Imam of
    the Central mosque later. The DSA quickly apprehended
    this as delay tactics as the text could have been sent
    earlier. Otherwise, why the night preceding the expiration of
    the ultimatum to reconcile? In any case, on the agreed date
    when the ultimatum expired (Tuesday 30th August, 2016),
    the DSA expected them to come for a meeting at the DSA's
    office, but to our chagrin they refused to show up.
    8. Meanwhile, acting upon the invitation earlier extended to
    the DSA by this splinter MSSN group, the Acting Dean and
    Vice Dean at about 10.45am on 31st August, 2016, visited
    the Fajuyi and Awolowo Halls with a view to seeing for
    themselves samples of the activities of the splinter MSSN
    group. We told them of many irregular and outright illegal
    things we have heard them do at the 'mosques'. We made
    them realise that they had been holding unauthorized
    religious programmes in these 'mosques' and several other
    places on campus without approval from the DSA. They,
    however, argued that they had not been violent but law
    abiding and that they had never done anything illegal or
    irregular in any of their religious meetings.
    9. But on this our visit to Awolowo 'mosque', we discovered
    a door leading to one of the rooms in the 'mosque' was
    securely locked from inside and the occupants refused to
    open. We threatened to force the door open if they refused
    any further, and after much persuasion, the door was
    opened and we discovered to our utter amazement that a
    group of girls numbering about a dozen were locked inside
    the room either fully or partially veiled. Our amazement was
    that the room in which they were locked or locked
    themselves was in a male hall, we wondered to no end why
    purported female students would be locked up in a male
    hall during lecture hours, no matter the excuse. Before we
    could interrogate them, some escaped through the
    backdoor of the room but we were able to apprehend three
    of them from whom we collected their identity cards.
    10. At the Fajuyi Hall, we also discovered to utter shock
    that a group of girls who purported themselves to be
    students were locked in a room in the 'mosque'. We
    interrogated them and they claimed that they were kept
    there by their leaders who happen to be the leaders of
    MSSN splinter group. They, in addition claimed that they
    were praying in the room. Our dilemma was why a group of
    female students would claim to be praying during lecture
    hours in an exclusive male hall at around 11am! There were
    five girls in this room and we collected the identity cards
    from four of them. The fifth one who was fully veiled said
    she had not her identity card on her. However, a male
    student who vouched for this fully veiled girl volunteered to
    stand in for her until she produced her identity card. We
    collected this male student's identity card.
    11. Having observed the seeming obstinacy of the splinter
    MSSN group to interact with the DSA and to fulfill the
    requirements of the agreement reached on 23rd August, we
    again were forced to send a follow-up invitation to them
    stating that they should come to the DSA for a meeting on
    Wednesday, 31st August for a serious interaction at the
    DSA's office. But to our utter dismay they sent a text
    message to the DSA that all of them in the group would be
    having Continuous Assessment tests from 10am to 5pm on
    31st August, 2016. We replied that text message that no
    test of any kind could possibly last from 10am to 5pm in
    this University and that in their own interest they needed to
    show up for the meeting on or before 2.00pm on 31st
    August to discuss the issue of reconciliation as agreed in
    our last meeting with them.
    12. The splinter MSSN group eventually came in the
    afternoon of 31st August at about 1.15pm. We intimated
    them with our findings and told them they had to put a
    stop to their practice of harbouring girls in rooms within the
    'mosques'. Their leaders insisted that they could not abide
    by that demand and that they reserved the right to keep any
    of their female members in the rooms in the 'mosque'! We
    explained to them that what they were doing was contrary
    to the laws of the University and the regulations guiding
    religious worship and students' conduct. But they held their
    ground that since the 'mosque' was a place of worship they
    could not abide by the rules and the need to desist from
    keeping female students within its rooms at any time. The
    meeting ended in a stalemate.
    13. We thereafter pleaded with the Chief Imam of the
    University to take full charge of the 'mosques' and prevent
    forthwith any breach of the University's rules within its
    walls. He declined flatly and said he would rather not be
    held responsible for what ever happened in those 'mosques'
    as he had since dissociated himself from the practices and
    doctrines of the splinter MSSN who controlled it.
    14. It should be noted that the Federal Government, of
    Nigeria of which Obafemi Awolowo University is an integral
    part, has not legalized prostitution in Universities. It is
    pertinent to note also that no female should be camped in
    a male facility under the guise of religion, as this is
    tantamount to running a brothel which will breed
    prostitution; and this is illegal. It is only fit, proper and
    responsible that any grossly abused university facility be
    closed down.
    15. Consequently, acting within its powers to prevent any
    breakdown of law and order and to ensure freedom of
    movement of persons within the respective halls of
    residence, especially at this time of dire security concern in
    the country, the DSA has therefore acted this 2nd day of
    September, 2016 to seal off and close down henceforth,
    the two 'mosques' in Awolowo and Fajuyi Halls until such a
    time that orderliness and the rule of the University would be
    respected within its walls.
    Signed: Dr. (Mrs.) G. O. Akinola
    Acting Dean, Division of Students’ Affairs)





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    16 Comments

    • Treboi_id on Sep 18, 2016

      http://www.campuspunch.com/unimaid-students-spotted-reading-with-street-lights#comments

      Reply

    • Treboi_id on Sep 18, 2016

      http://www.campuspunch.com/unimaid-students-spotted-reading-with-street-lights#comments

      Reply

    • Treboi_id on Sep 18, 2016

      http://www.campuspunch.com/unimaid-students-spotted-reading-with-street-lights#comments

      Reply

    • Treboi_id on Sep 18, 2016

      http://www.campuspunch.com/unimaid-students-spotted-reading-with-street-lights#comments

      Reply

    • lilyslimdon on Sep 14, 2016

      omg hmmmmmmmm

      Reply

    • Mayomikun on Sep 13, 2016

      Nah dem sabi

      Reply

    • mhizz_mary on Sep 8, 2016

      just passing too

      Reply

    • Zeenat on Sep 6, 2016

      Thanks for the info

      Reply

    • Zeenat on Sep 6, 2016

      Thinking of what else to say about it,,, Good<br /> Write Up anyway

      Reply

    • Zeenat on Sep 6, 2016

      Allah Help Us

      Reply

    • Zeenat on Sep 6, 2016

      Compalinin abt mosque again,, hmm

      Reply

    • Zeenat on Sep 6, 2016

      OAU dis OAU dat,, hmm

      Reply

    • pearl on Sep 6, 2016

      but nevertheless... anyhow dey wan do am.

      Reply

    • pearl on Sep 6, 2016

      hmmmmm. just passing

      Reply

    • sPeciaL on Sep 4, 2016

      That's their problem fa.

      Reply

    • sPeciaL on Sep 4, 2016

      Well..am speechless.

      Reply


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