Written by Austine ELEMUE

Chaos, anger over religious gathering in Abuja

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have continued to voice their anger and frustrations over the weekend gathering of the faithful of Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass, which paralysed commercial activities in most parts of the city and caused serious traffic gridlock.

Before the gathering on Nyass’s followers, most residents have expressed apprehension over the near-daily protests of the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise known as Shiites over the continued detention of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zak-zaky.

On Friday, residents began to notice heavy influx of vehicles with people hanging dangerously on articulated trucks, booths of cars and hanging on doors of buses.

Many concerned residents took to social media especially Facebook and Twitter to warn others to avoid certain parts of the city and wondering why the authorities did not inform residents to take alternative routes.

Christiana Esebonu, a journalist, took to Facebook to post: “In fact, I almost ran out of the cab I boarded to secretariat, when I sighted fleets of buses that conveyed them to Abuja with their mattresses, beside National Mosque.”

Also, Doosuur Iwambe stated, “I was in the gridlock for two hours. Was so scared. Thought a war was about to break out. Come and hear the shout of ‘Thank You, Jesus’ when I finally passed.”

Veteran journalist, Mr. Uche Ezechukwu, gave his own account: “Last night at 11.30pm I was going home from a meeting. After the Banex Junction at Wuse 2, we met a small traffic build up at a police checkpoint. Just ahead of us was a van - the type they call Diana, overloaded with more than three times of its capacity with people. It was a scary sight watching that crowd at that hour of night at these unsure times. I warned my driver to carefully avoid them and get us home in one piece.

“When I got home, I called a senior police officer to pass the information to him. He said he would get back to me. He did 45 minutes later and said that it might be a contingent of a religious group on an event of sorts.

“I could hardly sleep well, especially with monitoring the air strikes on Syria. This morning the officer called me again and warned me to keep away from some areas of city as the Shiites would be on the march!

“Are we really safe in this country? So please stay home if there is nothing of emergency scale outside.”

Halima Umar Saleh was furious and vowed to ban any sort of religious gathering if she were to be president.

“If I become president of Nigeria I will ban any religious gathering in this country. I almost cried yesterday (Friday) when I saw lawless people causing unnecessary holdup in the city in the name of religion. Some people call themselves Muslims but don’t know anything about the teachings of Islam I swear,” Halima wrote on Facebook.

On her part, Hon. Safiya Ibrahim Ogoh, simply said; “Last night (Friday) I saw them…Sorry is all that I can say... Words don't come easily. Please join me to sing for my leader.”

However, Gambo Suleiman Haruna explained that the mass gathering of people was the celebration of Maulud (commemoration) of Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass by some his living students in Nigeria.

“Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.”




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