23rd February, 2011
Contrary to reports that their mosque was built by a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla, clerics and residents of Itire Central Mosque in Mushin, Lagos, have said that the lawmaker only contributed to the project like some other people.
The construction of the mosque began 30 years ago and since then, several people in the area have contributed in different ways towards its completion, they said.
They said that the publication linking the lawmaker to the building of the mosque contained falsification of facts, adding that the mosque had existed for 100 years.
The lawmaker had claimed when he visited the mosque recently, that he had spent about N18 million as his own contribution to giving the structure a face lift in the past two years.
But in a rejoinder, the clerics stated that â€œsometimes in 1990, the Onitire Chieftaincy Family Council, together with the executive committee of the Itire Central Mosque, decided to reconstruct and expand the Itire Central Mosque.
â€œThe first stage of the expansion and re-construction of the over 100-year old mosque was the relocation of two adjoining houses and this was done at a great cost to the council as the owners of the two houses were relocated and compensated.
â€œSubsequently, the structure of the old mosque and the acquired adjoining buildings were all demolished to give way for an ultra-modern two-storey building.
â€œHaving received necessary government approval, the construction and expansion work commenced in 1992 and at the end of 2008, the new building had been fully constructed, roofed and mostly plastered.
â€œThe construction was funded by the Onitire Chieftaincy Family Council, some prominent people who are indigenes of Itire and several members of the Muslim community in Itire.â€
The clerics also said that at several times, they organised fund raising activities which provided enough donations to roof the building.
â€œSometimes in February 2009, Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla came to the scene and offered, through one of the members of the mosqueâ€™s executive committee, some material contribution and this he did particularly by tiling two of the floors of the mosque.
â€œAltogether and even generously assessed, his contribution could be valued at about N2 million as against the figures of N25 million and N18 million which he claimed.
â€œThe two-storey Itire Central Mosque building expansion and reconstruction programme was formulated by the Onitire Council and the mosqueâ€™s executive committee,â€ they explained, adding that the mosque had been roofed before Ayinla came around in 2009.
They said further that Alhaji Buhari Oloto had, on two occasions, stopped Ayinlaâ€™s floor tiling workmen from continuing with the work because of his strongly expressed belief that sooner or later, the lawmakerâ€™s contribution would be over-bloated and publicised, but he was prevailed upon to allow him contribute his little quota to the development of the mosque.
The mosqueâ€™s Building Committee, in a statement signed by Alhaji Musbau Alimi and Sulaiman Ogunrinde, chairman and secretary respectively, also denied the claims by the lawmaker.
When Assembly Matters tried to reach him, he explained that he had reporters in his team for stories he wanted published.