By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Following the alleged plot by a Christian cleric in Osun State, southwest Nigeria to implicate Muslim faithful in a pre-arranged Boko Haram attack, the Muslim community of Ikonifin town in Ola-Oluwa Local Government area of the state has petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu urging the police to investigate the matter.
Pastor M. O. Olatoke of First Baptist Church, Ikonifin had reportedly connived with some of his church members who dressed like Muslims and staged a scene that depicted a real Boko Haram strike thus allegedly resulting into confusion in the town.
In the ensuing melee, several people allegedly sustained varying degrees of injuries but Pastor Olatoke in his reaction claimed it was a mere drama meant to educate the congregation.
But the Muslim community in the petition signed by its Vice President, Alhaji Mustafa Olawuyi; and Secretary, Alhaji Hashim Olapade; claimed the plot was with intent to blackmail Muslims in the town as terrorists.
The petition stressed the need for the police to unravel circumstances surrounding the incident and called on the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter in the interest of justice and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to face the law.
The petition reads in part: “On Sunday 18th of May, 2014, Pastor M. O. Olatoke and a group of Christian youths namely Emmanuel Atanda, Peter Oyepade and Ogunniyi Babatope of First Baptist Church, Ikonifin, conspired to incriminate the Muslim population of the town by wearing Islamic dressing plus full turban with mask and threw explosives into the church congregation at about 12noon.”
According to the petition, the church congregation and the people of Ikonifin were thrown into confusion and they ran helter-skelter as the pandemonium rages on while several people including one Madam Banke and Mrs Lateefat Tajudeen were injured.
The petition further revealed that “the Chief Imam of Ikonifin, Alhaji Rauf Oyesunle who was then on the farm was urgently recalled by his wife, warning him to cautiously enter the town and remove his turban.”
The petition disclosed that a number of innocent Muslims would have been arrested, tortured and locked up should perpetrators of the ugly incident were not caught by residents of the town.
Reacting to the petition, the CP said the police would not relent in its bid to safeguard lives and properties of people in the state, pointing out that the initial information at police’s disposer did not reveal the true nature of the matter.
Maishanu said he has mandated the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) under Osun State Police command to carry out thorough investigation on the matter. The CP said the case is a very sensitive one and that the state government has also shown interest in case.