The erstwhile Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque, Sheikh Nuru Khalid has knocked President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The digital Imam, during a meeting with human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, on Sunday, said the same government which negotiates with bandits and terrorists, is now scared of hearing citizens speak, particularly those who demand their rights.
He said Nigerians should be given the freedom to speak without fear of harassment and intimidation, otherwise innocent citizens will become slaves.
He stated, “I have conditions for reconciliation, one of them is I won’t withdraw any word that I’ve spoken and the second condition is that no one will caution me on any issue.
“If it is against the will of the government, they have security operations, let them arrest me. If it is against the tenets of Islam, summon the FCT Committee of Imam to call me and ask. I am feeling as if I gained my freedom, I can speak out freely, I don’t mind anybody who feels good or bad.
“My mission is not to convert people to Islam but create awareness in the minds of Nigerians that we are not slaves; our mothers gave birth to us as free people, we are free people, that freedom is very vital.
“If we can maintain that freedom, we can speak out against bad governance but if we are afraid of them, we are now slaves. Somebody will just take one person and negotiate price.
“That’s what is happening in Nigeria today, they’re kidnapping citizens, selling them out. Look at someone that can bear to negotiate with criminals, now he’s afraid to listen to citizens. There’s a problem.”
Khalid was suspended as Chief Imam of Apo Mosque by its steering committee after his sermon against President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and its handling of insecurity in the country.
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The cleric had knocked Buhari for not visiting Kaduna after an Abuja-Kaduna train was attacked by terrorists recently.Eight passengers were confirmed killed during the attack while many were kidnapped by the terrorists.
Before the train attack, some terrorists had also stormed the Kaduna airport, killing one person. And twice within 24 hours, bombs were discovered and disabled by the police in the state.
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The cleric had allegedly urged worshippers and entire Nigerians to shun the polls in 2023 if the government failed to fix the security problems and other challenges confronting the nation.
According to the committee that suspended and later sacked him, the sermon was capable of inciting public outrage.Many Nigerians have criticised the government for allowing the sacking of the cleric, whom they have described as speaking truth to power.