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Sheikh Nuru Khalid: Nigerians urge clergymen to preach against bad governance

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FOLLOWING the suspension of the Chief Imam of Apo Mosque, Sheikh Nuru Khalid, Nigerians have called on clergymen to preach against bad governance in the country.

The Chief Imam of Apo Mosque, located in Apo legislative quarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was suspended for delivering what was perceived as an anti-government sermon.

Some Nigerians who spoke with The ICIR said the church and the mosque can rescue Nigeria from bad governance by delivering uncensored messages from the pulpit.

In the sermon, the Imam hinted at some measures that the electorate should devise should the authorities fail to protect their lives.

“Most parts of the country are not secured. The government is always telling us that they are doing their best.  But we deserve more than that best as citizens because we want a secured Nigeria.

“What you are telling us is that your concern is about the 2023 elections. And what I am telling the citizens is to send a message that we are going to vote under one condition. Nigerian masses should resort to only one term, which is – protect our lives. We will not come out to vote, since it’s the only language you understand, we are going to speak it.

“Our lives are important to us. We want to live. Our wealth and dignity are important as well. You must do something to secure our lives and make our security workable. We cannot afford to be moving like this. People attacking our trains, killing our people as if there is no government in this country.

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“They (bandits) can gather and disseminate intelligence information as if they are a government of their own, while our government cannot share information and stop the rubbish on our ways,” he said.

In a statement released to announce the Sheikh’s suspension, the chairman of the mosque committee, Senator Saidu Muhammed Dansadau, explained that the Imam was suspended over his sermon.

The statement accused Khalid of “inciting public outrage”, saying his preaching negated the tenets of Islam.

The statement said, “I am informing you that you have been suspended from leading prayers in the Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque from today being April 2, 2022, until further notice.”

Speaking on the development, Eze Onyekpere, Director of the Centre for Social Justice, (CSJ) told The ICIR that the cleric has the right to preach against bad governance.

Onyekpere, who stressed that the key role of the government was to secure lives and property, insisted that it was right to call the leaders out when they failed in that responsibility.

He said, “The clergy, whether in the mosque or church, have a critical role to play in the emergence of good governance in the country.

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“Look at the attack recently, which I called the ‘Kaduna statement’. The attack in Kaduna simultaneously on the airport, train and road showed a strong statement and must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“The clerics are within their rights to stand up against bad governance, for bad governance has led people to put their hands in evil and do the wrong thing.”

In the same vein, Justin Nwankwo of the Department of General Studies at the Federal Polytechnic Oko said all clerics irrespective of their political affinity, must rise to speak in an uncensored manner.

Nwankwo said, “People are fed up with the government. The situation is worse than what it used to be in the past. This is not the time to romance speeches on the pulpit.

“The church is part of the state and clergymen must speak up at this point. The prophetic role of the church must come up now. The church, mosque, and the family are the nucleus of the society.”

Senator Shehu Sani, who also faulted the suspension of the Sheikh, applauded the courage of the Imam in speaking truth to power.

Author profile

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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