Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State, on Wednesday brokered peace between contending forces over the leadership of the famous Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna.
The mosque, named after the first Sultan of Sokoto, was the hub of the puritanical Izala movement anchored by late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.
It had been enmeshed in leadership crisis since August 12, and the situation led to the expulsion of the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Balele Wali.
The appointment of Dr Khalid Abubakar as acting Chief Imam was staunchly opposed by some members of the mosque, led by Dr Ahmad Gumi.
A statement by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to El- Rufa’í, however, said stakeholders at the meeting held in Kaduna, agreed to give peace a chance.
It said that the contending parties agreed to allow the Deputy Imam of the mosque to serve in acting capacity pending appointment of a substantive Chief Imam.
They mandated the management committee of the mosque, in collaboration with the Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Gumi’s group and other stakeholders to set up a committee for the appointment of a substantive Imam.
The meeting also resolved that the committee would have two weeks from first day of its sitting, to complete its assignment.
Stakeholder at the meeting were the Emir, Khalid, Gumi, members of the mosque’s management committee, and the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice.
The rest included the Director, DSS, Police Commissioner, and representatives of the Army, Air Force and other security agencies.
The statement said El-Rufa’i had earlier explained that government intervened in the crisis to avert break down of law and order.
“I heard your submissions, but our interest as a government is to ensure security and contain threat to peace.
“We will not tolerate break down of law and order; and we will not fold our arms and allow people to resort to self help.
“I took oath to be fair and just and to protect all citizens of Kaduna State irrespective of their religious affiliations including those that don’t believe in the existence of God.
“We will not interfere with your affairs but we will also not allow the security of lives and properties to be compromised,” he was quoted as saying during the peace meeting.