Military dislodges another Islamic sect in Niger
Troops yesterday dislodged an Islamic sect, Madinatu Muheenu Nibassiya, from a forest near Lapai in Niger State.
No fewer than 240 members of the sect, mostly young men and women, were evacuated by the joint military group led by Lt. Col Adamu Yakubu. About 40 thatched roof houses built of straws and new buildings were demolished.
The sect, led by Sheik Mohammed Abubakar, the public and the Etsu Lapai, Alhaji Umar Bago Tafida have been seeing eye to eye. The traditional ruler accused Abubakar of teaching doctrines unknown in Islam.
Members of the group were also accused of causing trouble, attacking people who do not share their views, engaging in promiscuous activities and conducting forced marriages which they also dissolve at will. Members of the sect they alleged, see other Muslims as not well informed as they are.
On May 13, the Niger State government revoked the Certificate of Occupancy for the camp following complaints by the public that the sect was using the place to train terrorists.
A special task force raised by the government has moved the sect members to their local government areas except for two members who are from Kwara state.
It was learnt that Abubakar and three of his lieutenants are being interrogated by security agents.
The Etsu Lapai hailed the government, saying: “If no action is taken now, the sect will grow to become a terror that will consume all (of us). Already, members of the sect have been harassing people unprovoked in the town”.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ndako Idris said government revoked the land allocation when it was discovered that was fraudulently acquired.
Idris said: “Sheik approached state government for the land to construct schools, where children can acquire both Islamic and Western education, only to discover that he had a sinister motive.
“Based on his provocative teaching, government decided to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy(C of O), granted in August, 2013. This action was taken to nip the situation in the bud, as a result of his contravening teaching, before the sect turns to a monster like the Darulsalam sect in Mokwa area, where a group of 300 persons grew to 7000 in three years’” the SSG said.
Five years ago, another group – Darul Islam Sect- was dislodged from a village near Mokwa also in the state.
Efforts to get Abubakar to react failed. But a member, Sheik Usman, debunked all the allegations, saying the group never engaged in illegal activities; “we have confined ourselves to the teachings and propagation of Islam as stipulated by the Qur’an”.
Usman distanced the group from Boko Haram’s.
“We have nothing to do with Boko Haram. We don’t share the same belief and have nothing in common. Boko Haram has its agenda of destruction. We are peaceful Islamic scholars and farmers.
“When the military men came this morning, we were in the mosque, we did not move and when they searched our rooms, nothing incriminating was found, except they (military men) planted one. We are peace-loving people and our Sheik has impressed it on us the need to ensure peace,” Usman said.
Secretary to Lapai Local Government Alhaji Mohammed Evuti said the action was necessary because the sect members were causing havoc and gradually becoming security threats.
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