The indigenous Muslim community of Delta State has petitioned the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, over the alleged exclusion of their members from the State Pilgrims Board.
The petitioners who complained that virtually all the members of the State Pilgrims Board were from Muslims groups whose origins are from outside the state, described the composition of the Board membership as an act of “injustice and oppression to the indigenous Muslims,” adding that, the decision of the government to exclude them from the Board was a case of marginalization which they said they do not deserve.
Six representatives from the three senatorial zones of the state signed the statement which was made available to journalists in Benin.
They are: Alhaji Mohammed Isimah (Delta North); Alhaji Mahmud Kolodi (Delta Central); Engr. Nurudeen Ejakpovi (Delta Central); Mr. Harun Akora (Delta South); Alhaja Khadijah B. O. Alegimenhen (Delta North); and Alhaji Sadiq Oniyesaneyene (Delta South).
The petitioners noted that “Deltans are traditional practitioners in term of religion and with the passage of time majority converted to Christianity while others converted to Islam.
“We want to inform that Islam and Christianity were faiths brought to us by foreigners to Nigeria and that adherents of these faiths believe in the existence of God and peaceful relationship to the development of mankind. In all the states and tribes in Nigeria every indigene is proud to associate with his/her own.
“A Deltan cannot go to Sokoto State to claim what belongs to the indigenes of Sokoto. There is no Urhobo or Ika man/woman that is presently representing the Christians in Sokoto Christians Pilgrims Welfare Board. Why in Delta?
“It is of note that some non indigenes (tribes) resident in Delta State voted for you and it is expedient to compensate them by appointment. This appointment cannot be to the detriment of Deltans.”
They said not all the none indigenes are muslims and therefore representing all of them in the Board is a misnomer. “Their appointment in the state should be as Special Assistants or Personal Assistants or even Commissioners representing these interest groups/tribes if His Excellency deems it necessary.”
They therefore called on Governor Okowa to reconsider the constitution of the Board and prayed that a new board be constituted putting their protest into consideration.
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