President Goodluck Jonathan

The Deputy Chief Imam of Jamatul Izala Group in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria, Sheikh Idris, has been arrested by the police in Niger State. Last Friday he  delivered a sermon inciting his congregation against President Goodluck Jonathan.

Members of his family said he went missing for three days after last Friday’s Jumat Service. Sheikh Idris was later traced to the police station where he was  detained.

The family members claimed that he was arrested because he preached against President Goodluck Jonathan

Delivering his sermon, Idris was reported to have advised his congregation to reject Jonathan and support a Northern candidate.

The clergyman reportedly called on the national delegates of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Niger State to vote for Atiku Abubakar. He said Muslims  who vote for Jonathan are considered as infidels (unbelievers).

“I am calling on all the PDP national delegates from Niger State not to cast their votes for Jonathan. They should know that we know that only one of them is  a Christian,” Idris said.

A few hours after the sermon, plain clothes securitymen picked him up. His family members later located him at the State police Headquarters, Minna, after a  three-day search.

Contacted, the Chief Imam of the group, Mallam Rabiu Muhammed confirmed the arrest of his deputy but denied that Idris was arrested because of his Jumat  sermon.

He said Idris was arrested for a criminal offence of alleged gun-running.

“In his sermon he called on delegates to reject Jonathan. But his arrest has nothing to do with the sermon. He has a criminal case to answer. Gun was found  with somebody who said he was the source of the gun.”

The Chief Imam described the incident as unfortunate. He called on the group to discountenance the rumour that his deputy was arrested based on his sermon.

Sources at the police headquarters in Minna confirmed the arrest of Idris, saying that investigation into the incident was ongoing

— Aliyu Musa/Minna

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