The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, says his government would not allow religious extremists to start a violent crisis in the state again.
Mr Ganduje stated this while addressing Islamic clerics at the Abacha House, Government House in Kano. The governor called the meeting following the ban the government imposed on a popular Islamic cleric, Abduljabbar Kabara, for alleged public incitement.
The governor recalled the havoc caused by the Maitatsine crisis in Kano and spoke of how negative religious perceptions gave birth to the Boko Haram crisis in Maiduguri.
The Maitastine crisis, which occurred between 1979 and 1980, was triggered off by the activities of the followers of a Kano-based Cameroonian cleric, Muhammad Marwa.
Over 5,000 people were believed to have been killed in the crisis, including Mr Marwa and several police officers and soldiers.
“In Kano, we won’t allow the repeat of Maitatsine and we will not treat Mr Kabara’s threats with kids’ glove as was done with his accomplice in Zaria,” Mr Ganduje said in an apparent reference to Ibrahim El-zakzaky, the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shi’ite).
The Kano government had earlier shut down Mr Kabara’s mosque and centre across the state following alleged derogatory comments the cleric made against Prophet Muhammad’s companions.
Mr Kabara is controversial for his religious commentaries and lavish spending on his mostly youth followers.
Ganduje assures clerics
“We are appealing to you to use your pulpits to preach and caution your followers, because those planning to foment trouble are living with us and the government will not fold its hands and watch things deteriorate to violence,” Mr Ganduje said to the clerics.
He said the government was determined to ensure peaceful coexistence in the state and called for the support of the people.
“This is a war and we cannot fight it alone because you are fighting someone whom many of his followers believe is doing the right thing,” he said.
The governor said it has enough evidence on Kabara’s activities and lamented that the people did not act early to stop him.
Mr Kabara under house arrest
Meanwhile, Mr Kabara has been confined to his house since the house at ‘Filin Mushe’, a densely populated underserved community in Gwale in Kano metropolis, was sealed off by security agents on Friday.
A PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondent who visited the area on Friday counted about 20 police vehicles as security agents blocking routes in the area.
The police spokesperson in Kano, Abdullahi Kiyawa, did not respond to phone calls by our correspondents for his comments on the development.
Mr Kabara had earlier described the government’s move against him as politically motivated. He said he was targeted because he worked against the reelection of the governor in the 2019 general election.
He called on his followers to register and vote against the governor in 2023.
However, Mr Ganduje said the allegation was made to divert people’s attention from Mr Kabara’s misdeeds.
He said the government intervened because the cleric ordered his followers to kill anybody found close to his palace.
The state government had barred Mr Kabara from preaching in the state “for his mode of teachings considered too incendiary.”
Announcing the sanction at a press conference in Kano on Thursday, the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, said the state Executive Council took the decision at its weekly meeting.
He said all seminaries run by the cleric would be shut down pending an investigation by security agencies.
The state government also directed broadcast stations and social media platforms to stop airing inflammatory “preaching, sermons, propagation and any other religious discussions in the interest of peace and tranquility in the state.”
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