The dispute between the Lagos State Jama’atul Muslimeen (Muslim Community) and security services over ownership of the Obalende Muslim Prayer Ground will be addressed, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also, Mr. Buhari established a committee to advise him on the dispute between the security services and the Lagos State Jama’atul Muslimeen over the prayer area.
To this aim, he has established a committee headed by Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, to advise him on the processes and all that needs to be done to do justice to all parties involved.
At a meeting with Jama’atul Muslimeen members on Wednesday at the State House, Mr. Buhari said justice and fairness are principles very dear to him and he will hold onto them as long as he lives.
He said, “I have listened to the enlightening historical details you have read. You will get justice as far as this is concerned. I commend you for adopting a peaceful approach to seeking justice, without heating up the polity. The chief of staff will get back to you in two weeks.”
The group claimed in their presentation that they had come to the president as a last resort, having explored several avenues to get justice to no avail.
The Lagos State Muslim Community told the president that their ownership of the land dates back to 1931 when the Nigerian Government made an “Absolute Grant” of 3.11 acres of the land in question to serve as Muslim Prayer Ground at the new Hausa Settlement, Ikoyi Plains, Lagos, now known as Obalende. This information was provided by the delegation’s leader, Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the organisation.
They said that this occurred considerably earlier than when their neighbours, the Dodan Barracks, arrived in the area following the collapse of the First Republic.
The late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, during Obasanjo’s military regime, signed further documents provided by the Lagos Muslim Community to further demonstrate approval of the ownership of the land and confirm their ownership of the land.
According to their report, “in the last few years, officials of the Department of State Security Services, SSS, at Dodan Barracks have been threatening to deny the Muslims access into the prayer ground because the Muslim Community was claiming ownership of it, apparently based on their erroneous understanding that the Prayer Ground belongs to Dodan Barracks.”
The minister of defence, works and housing, the chief of army staff, director general of SSS, and other stakeholders are also included on the president’s committee.