The Lagos State government (LASG) has once again been accused by Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) of neglecting its duty in the collapse of the Al-Mutmahinat Mosque in Mushin in May.

In the mishap, fifteen worshippers were injured to varying degrees, and two people lost their lives.

The human rights organization asserts that LASG has not yet acknowledged that the mosque’s pillar was inadvertently brought down by a government excavator when it was repairing the road. It maintains that LASG should bear the whole cost of reconstructing the mosque and compensating the victims.

This was stated in a press release that the group’s executive director, professor Ishaq Akintola, distributed to the media on Monday, July 1, 2024.

The MURIC statement reads, “There is every reason there to believe that the Lagos State government (LASG) intends to abdicate its responsibility in the collapse of the Al-Mutmahinat Mosque, located at Yusuf Street, Papa Ajao, Mushin on Sunday, 26th May, 2024. Two people died in the accident, Anifat Yusuf, eleven and Dongo, a mallam. while 15 other worshippers suffered various degrees of injuries.

“One of those who suffered serious injuries is Naeemat Lasisi, 13, who had both legs amputated and is still lying in bed at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) five weeks after the accident.

“It will be recalled that MURIC had intervened in the issue of the collapsed mosque from day one. On 27th May, 2024, which was a day after the sad incident, we came out with a statement captioned ‘Collapsed Mosque: MURIC Charges LASG To Take Responsibility’.

“We followed it up with another press release 24 hours later under the title ‘Collapsed Mosque: MURIC Visits Site, Tenders 5 Demands’ and dated 28th May 2024. We capped our interventions with another statement titled ‘MURIC Lampoons Lagos GOVT For Abandoning Collapsed Mosque Victim in Hospital, Legs Amputated’. This was on 31st May, 2024.

“We are deeply disturbed that, despite these outcries, LASG is yet to take full responsibility five weeks after the disaster struck. MURIC is being briefed regularly by some of the relations of the injured victims as well as members of the mosque congregation.

“We must be fair to LASG by mentioning the visit of the state’s Commissioner for Health to the hospital about three weeks ago. But that visit took place without further assurance from the government regarding the girl’s future.

“LASUTH management is taking care of the 13-year-old school-girl whose legs have been amputated and although the management assured MURIC about four days ago that LASG will pay for her artificial legs, the parents have expressed worries about the girl’s future. This is also one of the five demands made by MURIC but LASG has maintained silence on this issue. It should not be about getting artificial legs for the poor girl alone. What happens to her education and career?

“Another major area where the state government has ignored the demands is the mosque building, which collapsed. All the eyewitnesses testified that it was the government excavator which knocked down the pillar and this led to the collapse of the mosque. This has not been denied either by the state government or the Mushin Local Government Council, whose bulldozer was working on the street

“The mosque committee has informed MURIC that no tangible assurance regarding the rebuilding of the mosque has been offered by any government official. This is most disappointing.

“A highly nauseating comedy played out about a week ago when the chairman and other officials of Mushin LG gave peanuts to some of the victims. Five million naira was reportedly given to the mosque committee, one million naira was given to the parents of the girl who lost both girls. Some of those injured received as little as one hundred thousand naira.

“This can only happen in a banana republic. What does the council expect the mosque committee to do with N5 million? Is it to buy groundnuts and pure water for worshippers on Friday or what? Can N5 million bring the new construction to foundation level?

“That compensation jamboree organized by the chairman can best be described as mere hocus-pocus. It is an attempt by the Mushin LG to trivialize the sad incident, ridicule the Muslims and eventually get away with the atrocity.

“We therefore reiterate our position that the state government must take responsibility for the collapse of the mosque and give assurance regarding how it intends to rebuild the structure. In our earlier press statements, we had requested a six month period during which the mosque should be completed and made functional.

“We urge LASG and Mushin LG to act like responsible institutions honest enough to accept blame when found wanting and to take responsibility in an honourable manner. A structure pulled down, albeit mistakenly, by a corporate entity must be rebuilt by that corporate body and no responsible government will run away from such responsibility.

“Neither should LASG or Mushin LG mistake the silence and perceived docility of Muslims in Mushin for any form of stupidity or cowardice. It is wicked and irresponsible to pull down our mosque and remain silent. Not even when lives and limbs were lost in the incident. That signifies tramadolised impunity.

“We therefore demand that LASG and Mushin LG must invite the leadership of the mosque for dialogue with immediate effect. Members of the mosque committee are not daft. They are made up of well-educated individuals and they know their rights.

“Besides, they are prepared to pursue the actualisation of their Allah-given fundamental human rights on the twin issues of the reconstruction of the mosque and adequate compensation for the victims of the accident. The committee is prepared to use every legitimate means available to ensure justice for Mushin Muslims.

“The time to invite the mosque committee for dialogue is now, the statement concluded.”