Imam sacked for obeying lockdown directive in Zaria

Sheikh Sani Yakubu, the Chairman, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’a Wa’iqamatis Sunnah, Zaria in Kaduna State, has sacked Mallam Abubakar Sarki-Aminu as the imam (preacher) at the Sheikh Mahood Gumi Centre Juma’at Mosque.
Sarki-Aminu was fired for complying with an order banning congregational prayers in the state.
The sect claims there is nothing like coronavirus, saying COVID-19 is a western propaganda.
Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, the leader of Izala Muslim sect in Plateau State,  had  on Izala TV, insisted that coronavirus was a fabrication.
The Kaduna State Government had on March 20, 2020 banned the five daily Muslim congregational prayers, church services and any form of gathering in the state.
Imam Sarki-Aminu, who had led the five congregational prayers in the mosque for 40 years, was fired by the leadership of the sect.
The chairman confirmed the sacking on Friday but declined further comment on the matter. He, however, mandated the committee chairman for the five daily prayers of the mosque, Alhaji Shehu Dan-Maikuli, to speak on his behalf.
Dan-Maikuli said, “When this issue of coronavirus came, one day the imam just stood up after leading Zuhur (1:00pm)prayer and announced that he had suspended congregational prayers until the issue was over, by then I was not in the mosque.
“I came for Asr (4:00pm) prayer only to be told that the imam ordered the closure of the mosque, I called him on the phone to enquire and he said he had ordered that the mosque be closed.”
According to him, the case was reported to the Chairman, JIBWIS, Zaria Local Government Area, who promised to visit the mosque on Thursday to personally remove the imam.
“Incidentally, the chairman came on Wednesday and led Isha (night) prayer and thereafter announced the sacking of Mallam Abubakar Aminu and replaced him with Mallam Ahmad Tijjani as the new imam,” he added.
In his defence, the sacked imam said he decided to suspend the congregational prayers based on a directive from the state.
He said, “When this case of coronavirus pandemic surfaced in Nigeria, the Kaduna State Government declared the banning of Juma’at prayers as well as any gathering above 50 people.
“Our mosque usually witnesses a very large crowd of worshippers; we had to comply with the directives given by Gov. Nasir el-Rufai to prevent the spread of the disease.
“In line with this, I stood up after leading a congregational prayer to tell people that in view of the order by the state government, I had to suspend congregational prayers in the mosque until the ban was lifted.”
He added,  “My deputy imam called me on the phone that Sheik Sani Yakuba ordered that we should continue with the congregational prayers and that I should come out for Subhi (dawn) prayer.
“I replied him that if the chairman wanted me to continue with the congregational prayers, let him formally write to me so that I would be convinced that his order superseded that of the government.
“I waited without anything to that effect; later, I learnt that the chairman came and led a congregational Isha’i prayer and announced my removal and replaced me with Mallam Ahmad Tijjani with two deputies who were my deputies.”

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