By Abdulsalam Muhammad
KANO —Residents of Kofar Waika quarters have requested the Kano State Government to demolish the residence of late Muhammad Turi that has been converted to a shrine by Shi’ite members in the state.
The residents, under the aegis of Kofar Waika Community Elders Committee, in a strongly worded petition to the state government and signed by Alhaji Lawan Waika, stated that “none of the residents of Waika area is of the Shi’ite sect” but explained that “since the Shi’ites’ clash with the military at Zaria in December 2015, we have been witnessing the presence and movement of strange faces in and out of the area” – the Waika area is where the residence of the deputy leader of the sect, Mallam Muhammad Turi, who was killed in the December clash, is located.
The residents also revealed in the petition that “Shi’ite members organize preaching sessions and they disrespect constituted authority in the process; they also disrespect the traditional rulers and members of the security agencies and also incite their followers to carry out violent acts”.
The late Turi’s residence, which is alleged to have been converted to a shrine, is located on the northern plain of Goron Dutse hill, behind the residence of Sheik Isyaku Rabiu.
But in a swift reaction, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, the main Shi’ite sect in the country, dismissed the call for demolition of Turi’s residence, describing it as a “peak of mischief”.
In a statement circulated and made available to Sunday Vanguard in Kano, and signed by Dr. Dauda Nalado, IMN said that what is being referred to as shrine serves as “Kano Markaz” of IMN.
Dr Nalado, who is a university don, in the statement, noted that “the Islamic Center has been in the neighborhood for the past 13 years and in over a decade of its existence there has never been a single report of any criminal activity by the neighbours of the center.”
He maintained that “for anybody to claim that members of the Islamic Movement are engaged in dangerous activities is malicious, mischievous and a blatant lie”.
The statement further called on the Kano State Government to “disregard such malicious claims perpetrated by mischief makers bent on brewing sectarian sentiments that will be detrimental to peaceful coexistence in the state”.
He further stressed “The Islamic Movement for the past 40 years has been the most tolerant of all groups and associations within the Islamic community in the country, therefore for someone to associate us with violence is the peak of mischief”.
A visit to the contentious structure at Kofar Waika quarters 300metres from a police station revealed stern-looking malnourished middle aged men keeping vigil.