By Usman Shauibu
The Muslim community of Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi state is angry over the imposition of the leadership of the Islamic Center Afikpo by the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) without consideration of Muslim scholars from the community.
To that effect, the Muslim youths have vowed to resist any imposition of leadership on the school.
The youths in a statement signed by Alhaji Suleiman Afikpo, chairman of the committee and Mallam Abdulqadir Nnachi, public relations officer, said the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) recently took over the activities of the school from the Muslim World League (MWL) popularly called Rabita, due to the inability of the later to sustain its aids which has caused retrogression in the academic standard it had built in the past. It is a fact that the League founded the International Islamic Relief Organization in 1978.
That makes it more confusing how IIRO was drafted into the Islamic Center’s matter.
The Centre, founded in 1958 by Sheikh Ibrahim Nwagui from Anofia where it is situated, was established to create Islamic awareness and preach peaceful coexistence in non-Muslim Southeast of Nigeria. It has undergone stages of survival as it was unnecessarily reduced to educational setup which, though, has actually trained a lot of Nigerians who are excelling in different professional and academic establishments.
The MWL came to rehabilitate the Center around 1981, long after the civil war that left it deserted, through the efforts of indigenous Muslims from Afikpo who studied in Saudi Arabia. The last administration was led by Dr. Fadlu Khalud in Abuja and Sheikh Mama Usman who handed over the leadership to IIRO. But IIRO, on the other hand, has constituted the administrative leadership to take over with no scholar from Afikpo making the list. Letters by the Afikpo Committee of Ulama’ and the extended family members of the founder of the Center were totally ignored.
“This is not possible in any part of Nigeria. Allah sent prophets and messengers from the people they were sent, so that they can understand them. That is a divine wisdom. The Muslim World League came to the Center and caused certain level of disaffection amongst Muslims of Afikpo. The situation has worsened. Why should IIRO tow the same path by trying to impose on the school an unacceptable leadership?” “Afikpo Muslim community can boast of many illustrious Islamic scholars who studied in different fields at the Islamic University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, in Sudan and in Niger. They command Islamic and Arabic knowledge. What is really wrong? Why this oppression on Muslims of Afikpo? We think it is time to challenge this injustice from the Muslim World League and its offshoot, the IIRO.”
“We demand that IIRO chooses the director and principal of the school from amongst the well-qualified Afikpo Muslim scholars, so that the original aims and objectives of the establishment of the Center can be actualized.”