The Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council for Islamic Affairs, Hassan Sadauki, has accused Governor Udom Emmanuel of shutting Muslims and the Hausa community out of the government in Akwa Ibom State.
Mr Sadauki told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday, that Mr Emmanuel had not constituted the Muslims Pilgrim Welfare Board in the state since he became governor in 2015.
The situation, Mr Sadauki said, forced Muslims in the state to resort to queuing behind fellow Muslims in Cross River and Rivers States, for an airlift to Saudi Arabia for their pilgrimage.
Cross River and Rivers States have their Muslim pilgrim boards.
Mr Saduaki said Governor Emmanuel had stopped since 2015 the Sallah homage that the Muslim community used to pay previous governors of the state.
“The simple thing, the courtesy that we used to enjoy once a year, after one month fasting there’s a celebration so during the celebration we used to pay a courtesy visit to the governor to celebrate Sallah with him, since the inception of this administration we’ve been cut-off,” he said.
Mr Sadauki said he and other Muslims had contacted the special assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Religious Matters, Daniel Akwatang, over the issues but that no results had been recorded yet.
The spokesperson of the Islamic affairs council in the state, Ahmed Isa, corroborated Mr Sadauki’s claim.
Mr Isa said Mr Emmanuel’s administration had neglected the Islamic community in the state.
Mr Emmanuel’s aide, Mr Akwatang, said he forwarded to the governor a letter he received from the group.
The governor’s aide, however, declined to answer further questions on the matter.
The chairman of the group, Mr Sadauki, said he has been in Akwa Ibom State all his life.
He said he attended schools, from primary to tertiary, in Akwa Ibom and married a woman who hails from the state. He and the wife have three children, he said.
Mr Sadauki said he was shocked when Governor Emmanuel, in one of his state-wide broadcasts, claimed that Akwa Ibom has a 100 per cent Christian population.
“I don’t think in Nigeria of today there is a state where you would say you don’t have worshippers of other religions,” the Muslim leader said.
“Like my state of origin, Kano State, the governor cannot boast that the state is 100 per cent Muslim state.
“He would rather say majority are Muslims, and not 100 per cent Muslim State as if there’s not a single Christian in the state.”
The Commissioner for Information in Akwa Ibom, Ini Ememobong, when contacted, referred our reporter to the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, whom he said is in charge of committees on government celebrations.
Mr Ekuwem did not respond to requests for comments.
‘No government presence’
The Hausa population in Akwa Ibom live mainly within an area designated as an industrial layout on the outskirts of Uyo.
When our reporter visited the settlement popularly called “Nasarawa” on Wednesday, there were commercial activities amidst the Ramadan fasting.
Traders were busy with their livestock business, while others were seen loading red oil into trucks for transportation to northern Nigeria.
Mr Sadauki said the area was designated for the Hausa community by Governor Victor Attah’s administration because of its proximity to the livestock market and a modern abattoir.
“We were relocated to this very place around 2006.
“There’s no single government presence in this very place but we are paying tax. Every truck that comes in here is paying levies to the state, local government and the community.”
Mr Sadauki complained about the bad road network in the area, lack of potable water and poor waste management system.
He said they are compelled to live with the offensive odour from a nearby waste dump.
The Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental and Waste Management Agency, Prince Ikim, said the waste dump referred to by Mr Sadauki is an illegal one created by the residents.
He promised to get the waste evacuated within five days.
Mr Sadauki, who said the Hausa community has never been attacked before in the area, commended the state government for the peaceful atmosphere.
He also thanked the state government for the free education in the state in which he said their children are beneficiaries.
He appealed for assistance from the state government for the completion of the only mosque in the area and the installation of solar light in the area.
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