MURIC Slams Gov Makinde For Allegedly Converting Bodija Praying Ground To Recreation Centre, We Are Upgrading It To Serve Public Better - Oyo Govt Replies

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“Governor Makinde should mark our words, Bodija Muslim praying ground has become sacred land and converting it to any worldly use is sacrilegious, MURIC added.

Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has alleged that the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde may have begun a systematic, well-rehearsed and gradual elimination of Islamic landmarks in the State. Mr Taiwo Adisa, while reacting to MURIC, explained that the development will not affect the Mosque and the Church which have been built on the original land of the recreation centre, adding that the government's plan was to upgrade the facility into a modern recreational facility.

They stated the following reported earmarking of Muslim ‘Id praying ground situated at Bodija, Ibadan, for the construction of a recreation centre by the State government.

MURIC wants Governor Makinde to clarify his government’s stand on the matter in a statement signed by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola and made available to reporters on Saturday.

The group said it was worried about the news that the Governor had allocated Bodija ‘Id praying ground for the construction of a recreation centre.

While alleging that the Makinde government had recently marked a mosque in the state for demolition, the group said the governor should note that religion is a very sensitive thing and that any issue that may trigger controversy is better left untouched.

MURIC slammed Makinde for trying to convert a place of worship “where Muslims call on Allah to a recreation centre where fun-seekers manifest all kinds of lewd, obscene and vulgar profanities sounds more like mocking Islam. It was not long ago that a mosque in Iwo Road was marked for demolition by the same administration.”

They said that by marking mosques for demolition and seizing praying ground belonging to Muslims, the governor is telling Muslims in general that they are insignificant.

“Governor Makinde should mark our words, Bodija Muslim praying ground has become sacred land and converting it to any worldly use is sacrilegious. We say this with all seriousness,” MURIC said.

They said the Governor’s alleged actions against Muslims amounted to challenging his creator by seizing the very property on which His Name is called.

“In addition, it is our hope that we are not witnessing a systematic, well-rehearsed and gradual elimination of Islamic landmarks in Oyo State,” the group said.

In a press statement released by Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor 'Seyi Makinde reacts to the following claims by an Islamic organisation that the government took over an Eid Ground in Bodija.

It reads that, The Oyo State Government has explained that it took the decision to develop the 11,435.711-square-metre open field in Bodija as a recreation facility in order to serve the purpose of the original master plan of the area and cater to the recreational needs of Bodija Estate.

It maintained that part of the land, which was designed as a recreation centre since the creation of Bodija Estate was used to build a Mosque and a church, while the government is only converting the remaining land to a modern recreation facility in line with the master plan.

 "The proposed facility, which is under construction, shall have a FIFA-standard football pitch, tennis court, swimming pools, children's play areas, water slide, water world, food court and other recreational facilities befitting of a prestigious Estate like Bodija," the government said.

He explained that the development will not affect the Mosque and the Church which have been built on the original land of the recreation centre, adding that the government's plan was to upgrade the facility into a modern recreational facility.

The new construction will not in any way tamper with the existing Mosque in the area, adding that a Church near the same parcel of land was also not affected by the development, the statement said.

According to the government, it placed the advertisements for the project, to attract interested, tested and qualified investors and developers in major newspapers on August 27, 2019, wondering why after close to two years, a group would suddenly try to misconstrue the well thought out plan to upgrade a facility that belongs to the government.

It warned the residents of the State to disregard attempts to disrupt the peace of Oyo State through religious incitements, stating that the proposed development of the facility does not stop anyone from practising his/her religion.

The statement read: "The Bodija Recreation Centre is an open field located Beside Housing Roundabout, in the heart of Bodija Estate, Ibadan, which has been used over the years as a sports and recreational facility by the residents of the estate.

"The field, measuring 11,435.711 square metres, was approved as a football field and tennis court by Oyo State Housing Corporation in the master plan of the estate and has been used for sporting and recreational activities for many years.

"The Oyo State Government, in the drive, vision and mission to develop the facility into a modern recreational edifice, placed advertisements in major newspapers on August 27, 2019, to attract able, viable, tested and qualified investors and/or developers for public-private partnership in the attainment of its vision for the benefit of the teeming populace of the State.

"The goal of the Government is to utilize the Build, Operate and Transfer modality in partnership with Messrs Reform Construction Limited, one of the foremost sports facility companies in Nigeria for the design, construction, commissioning and management of Bodija Recreation Ground into a modern, self-sustaining, multi-purpose sports and recreational centre.

"By the Public-Private arrangement, Bodija Recreation Centre is to become one of the foremost sports and recreation centres in the entire Ibadan city with a project cost well above N500 Million.

"The sport-loving administration of His Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde, in Oyo State, is not only delivering a remodelled Lekan Salami in Adamasingba, but also mini stadia in various locations across the State such as Ibadan, Oyo, Eruwa, Ibadan, Saki, Ogbomoso and Iseyin.

"It is pertinent to point out that the proposed development of the Recreation Centre doesn't in any way affect Bodija Central Mosque and the Church beside it.

"The peace-loving people of Oyo State are enjoined to disregard every attempt to disrupt the fragile peace of our dear State."

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