MUSLIM clerics and traditional worshippers have clashed in Ogun State over the corpse of a 32-year-old man who committed suicide with both sides wanting to participate in the funeral of the deceased.
On Monday night, Muhammed Jamiu, an electrician and father of one, reportedly killed himself in his room on Yakubu Habibu Street, Agura, Sabo, Sagamu. Following his death, a row broke out as although the deceased was a Muslim, some traditionalists attempted to take possession of his remains shortly after news of his demise broke.
Apparently, the traditionalists insisted that a ritual must be performed to avoid any repercussion of the death in the area. However, Nurain Ilyas, the imam of Aduragbemi Mosque in Agura Sabo, where the deceased prayed before his death, said his members objected to this.
Pointing out that they were shocked by Mr Jamiu’s death, imam Ilyas noted that they became even more worried when the traditional worshipers attempted to take over his corpse. Another Islamic leader, Imam Sonubi Dauda, said the matter was later taken to the palace of the traditional ruler in the area.
Imam Ilyas said: “He was an easygoing person who used to pray in my mosque and I always admonished him to make his faith stronger. I think he hanged himself and the police came to inspect the scene after it happened on Monday night.”
Representatives of the traditional worshipers then requested contributions for a ritual to be performed. They asked for about N150,000 before they reduced it to N25,000 but the Muslim clerics refused and did not give them a kobo and Jamiu was later buried according to Islamic rites.
Ifasola Opeodu, the leader of the Osugbo-Remo in Sagamu, said that some of his members were at the scene for a ritual, adding that they left the body after the intervention of the palace authorities. When asked why the traditionalists wanted to take over the body of a Muslim, he noted that there were laid down traditions for anyone who died by suicide.
Mr Opeodu said: “If anyone committed suicide in the olden days, Oro worshipers and traditionalists would perform rituals but things have changed now. We now have other religions.
“Muslims will perform the rites and our people left the body for them. At the end of the day, our members were settled at the palace.”
Police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the clash between the religious groups was not formally brought to the police. He added that the police heard that the traditional ruler in the area resolved the matter and normalcy has returned.