Tension Rises As Oau Dsa Seals Off Two Mosques In Hostels

Posted in Gist   |   By Oakley   |   Sep 4, 2016   |   16 Comments


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
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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Sep 18, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Sep 18, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Sep 18, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Sep 18, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

omg hmmmmmmmm
Sep 14, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Nah dem sabi
Sep 13, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

just passing too
Sep 8, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Thanks for the info
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Thinking of what else to say about it,,, Good<br /> Write Up anyway
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Allah Help Us
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Compalinin abt mosque again,, hmm
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

OAU dis OAU dat,, hmm
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

but nevertheless... anyhow dey wan do am.
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

hmmmmm. just passing
Sep 6, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

That's their problem fa.
Sep 4, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply

Well..am speechless.
Sep 4, 2016   |   (5)   (1)   | Reply