Friday, 20 April 2012

Nigeria: 'State of Osun' governor denies Islamist allegations

Governor of Osun State Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has refuted allegations that he is trying to turn Osun State into an Islamic State and secede from Nigeria. The governor refuted the allegations in a state-wide broadcast, saying that the allegations were engineered by the opposition in the State and aimed at distracting his administration from fulfilling its mandate. Aregbesola also attributed the claims to a national security agency which was under a “misguided and overzealous leadership” and which “had mixed up allegiance to the constitution, the Nigerian people and their welfare with partisan interest”.

On 14 April, a national daily had published a report credited to the State Security Service (SSS) that the agency had placed Aregbesola under close surveillance owing to his activities with an Islamic organisation called Jama'atu Ta'awunil Muslimeen Society of Nigeria (TAWUN). Aregbesola is said to have taken control of the group, which is reported to have invaded some schools in the State and is enforcing the wearing of the hijab by female students. The SSS report likened the emergence of TAWUN to Boko Haram. Furthermore, Aregbesola is accused of trying to secede from Nigeria by changing the name of the State from “Osun State” to “The State of Osun”. Chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State are said to have written to the Federal Government to stop the remittance of allocations to the State as the Constitution does not recognise The State of Osun but Osun State.

Aregbesola is a devout Muslim and one of the founders of a leading national Islamic organisation, Nasrul Lahi L Fatih Society. The group recently condemned the Easter Sunday bombing in Kaduna State, which had been attributed to Boko Haram. Meanwhile, the leadership of Aregbesola's party, ACN, has raised the alarm that Aregbesola's life is under threat.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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