The Kaduna State government has spoken about its opposition to the new ASD Juma’at Mosque in the state capital
Kaduna businessman, Sani Dauda, popularly known as ASD, built the mosque in his house. The mosque began operations two weeks ago.
However, the development control department of the state blocked worshipers from holding Jumaat prayer in the mosque on Friday.
Authorities said the developer violated the building plan approved for the property.
‘Kaduna Government explains’
A government spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES the police were only there to provide security as usual “but not to intimidate any worshipper as reported in social media pages.”
“The developer applied to KASUPDA (state development agency) with a building plan requesting to build a mosque that will be used for daily prayers in his house,” the official said. “The permit was granted but after everything, it was discovered that the mosque was actually built for Juma’at prayers which was not what was applied for.
“Considering the tight location of the area, a proposal for a Juma’at mosque will surely not be granted but he goes ahead to build a mosque. And also his attention was called by the KASUPDA to stop work but (he) insisted and went ahead.”
Visit to Mosque
The building was sealed on Saturday when a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited the location at Yakubu Avenue, Unguwar Rimi GRA.
Also, the effort made to talk to officials of the mosque was unsuccessful as none was willing to speak on the matter.
A worshiper, who did not give his name, confirmed that people were not turned back when they came for daily prayers.
“The police never turned back anybody, they are always there to provide security around that vicinity,” he said.
Kaduna ‘Religious Bill’ scales through
The development came about a week after the Kaduna State House of Assembly passed the Religious Preaching Regulation bill. The legislation will become a law when signed by the governor.
The new law substitutes a similar law enacted in 1984 by the state.
The state government had in 2016 argued that the bill was meant to regulate religious preaching in order to promote religious harmony and peaceful coexistence and not to stifle religious freedom.
It provides for the establishment of an Interfaith Regulatory Council at the state level and committees at local government levels responsible for screening and issuing licenses to preachers.
The councils will have two representatives each of Christian and Islamic bodies, among other members.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect new information provided by a Kaduna government official that no decision has been made by the administration to demolish the mosque.