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New chief Imam of Lagos to get staff of office

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The Balogun of Lagos, Chief Ademola Oke Balogun (left); Executive Chairman Lagos Central Mosque/Baba Adini of Lagos, Sheikh Abdul Hafeez Abou and Vice-Chairman Lagos Central Mosque Executive Council, Alhaji Sikiru Alabi Macfoy during a press briefing on the presentation of staff of office to the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Engr. Sulaimon Oluwatoyin Abou Nolla.

The Executive of Lagos state Central Mosque has disclosed that the newly appointed chief Imam of Lagos will be officially presented with the staff of office along with turbaning of new title chiefs on Sunday 16th September at Tafawa Balewa Squre Lagos.

The new Chief Imam was selected following the demise of Alhaji Garuba Akinola Ibrahim, who died on September 24.The Executive chairman and Baba Adini of Lagos, Sheikh Abdul Azeez Abou, made this know during a press conference organize by the mosque.He said, the staff of office would be presented to Engr. Sulaimon Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla as the 10th chief imam of Lagos central Mosque in accordance with the constitution of the Mosque.

“ The new Chief Imam emerged as the 10th Chief Iman of Lagos after a rigorous selection process. He added that the Imam is eligible and competent with profound knowledge in Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, Arabic and western education.“ He is a civil servant and graduate of Electrical Engineering, University of Ilorin and Also a graduate of Darul-Dawah-Wal-Irshidad, Arabic and Islamic Colledge, Isolo.

Abou linked the history of staff of office to turkey in 1905 when the elders of Lagos Muslim Communities formed themselves into Jamatul Muslimeen Council of Lagos Central Mosque with twenty members Executive Council that constituted the first executive Council of the Mosque. “The twenty executives ran the affairs of the Mosque and obtained the staff of office from the Sultan of Turkey through His Royal Majesty King Edward VII of England”.

He said the number of elected chief Imam till date is 10 and title chief till date is over 200 in the history of Lagos Central Mosque. “ Alfa Salu was the first Chief Imam to lead Jumat prayer and he held the office until 1853 when a civil war broke between Oba Akintoye and Oba kosoko. Kosoko and his followers most of whom were Muslims together with the Chief Imam disagreed with Oba Akintoye and were forced out of Lagos to Epe. Alfa Ganiu was afterwards appointed to succeed Chief Imam Salu. The following Chief Imams were appointed till date, Chief Imam Alfa Salu (1841-1853), Chief Imam Nofiu Gana (1853-1881), Chief Imam Nola (1881-1891), Chief Imam Ibrahim (1891-1923), Chief Imam Ligali (1923-1947), Chief Imam Tijani Ibrahim (1947-1954), Chief Imam Karim Nola (1954-1959, Chief Imam Alhaji Liadi Alade Ibrahim O.B.E (19591998), Chief Imam Alhaji Garuba Akiola Ibrahim OON (1999-2017), Chief Imam Engr. Sulaimon Oluwatoyin Abou-Nolla (2018-till date). Over 200 personalities have been awarded various Islamic titles for their stanch contributions to the development of Islam in the state”, he said.

While speaking about the history of Lagos Central Mosque. He noted that, the Mosque is the oldest Mosque in the Southwest; it has been in existence over 160 years. The Mosque used to be the national Mosque until the capital city was moved to Abuja.

The evolution of Islam in Lagos is centered on history of Lagos Central Mosque, dated back to 1775 when the crescent of Islam was first publicly raised. Abou added that, Islam was introduced to Lagos through Malian traders who transacts business with natives and the Ibigas (members of the palace household) and thereafter converted them to Islam. At this period, congregation prayers were not observed for fear of molestation from the traditional worshipers who were dominant and in charge of the city.

“ The first Islamic call to prayer was made inside Iga Idungarun (the official palace of Oba of Lagos) with the effort of Oba Aderele I in 1775. The traditional worshippers reacted vehemently and this lead to the banishment of Oba Aderele in 1780. Ultimately Islam suffered set back in the hand of succeeding Obas until prince Kosoko got to the throne and sought the support of the Ibigas most of whom are Muslims. Fortunately he achieved his ambitions and Islam grew. In 1841 first Jumat service was observed publicly in the spot were Animashaun Mosque was situated and in 1864 a piece of land was acquired at Victoria street now known as 46A Nnamdi Azikwe street Lagos.

He said the Mosque played a decisive role in the affairs of the Muslim Ummah right from the time of the colonial master. “ The Mosque is a medium the colonial masters use to pass messages to the grass root, it is use to disseminate religious, social and political issues”, he said.

Dignitaries expected to grance the occasion are His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Her Exellency Alhaja Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Alayeluwa Oba Riliwanu Babatunde Aremu Akiolu 1, Alhaji Hon. Dr. Musliu K. Smith, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and religious organization.

The Vice-Chairman Lagos Central Mosque Executive Council, Alhaji Sikiru Alabi Macfoy described the Chief Imam as a vibrant religious scholar who is verse in Arabic and other Islamic Knowledge capable of bringing development to the Ummah’.He added that the newly elected chiefs are outstanding people in the society “they will bring development to the society both locally and internationally”, he said.


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