RESIDENCE GROAN AS SHIITE SECT MEMBERS LOCK DOWN FCT

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory went through a tough time on Friday and Saturday as members of the Tijjaniya Islamic sect locked down major parts of Abuja while celebrating Maulud Nabiyy, the birth of Prophet Muhammed.

The sect members, who came from all parts of the north literally took over the major streets in the Central Business District as they parked their vehicles indiscriminately on the roads and set up camps right on the expressways.

The Muslim faithful were said to have celebrated the Maulud at the National Mosque on Friday, but motorists and residents had to contend with serious discomfort as the visitors shut down the major roads and streets around the mosque.

Our correspondent observed that the Independence Avenue and other adjoining streets were blocked by the sect members.

Security guards at Sheraton Hotel, Wuse, had a hectic time dissuading the sect members from camping in front of the hotel.

The entrance to the Craft market located adjacent the hotel, was taken over by hordes of sect members who turned the open space into a sleeping area.

Also, the road leading to the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre was completely sealed by the Tijjaniya members, some of whom were selling souvenirs, religious memorabilia and mementos.

Some daring youths rode dangerously on motorcycles as they drove against the traffic weaving around the people and risking lives and limbs.

Our correspondent who went around on Saturday noticed the sect members leaving the city after their celebration, with many of them loaded in the trunks of cars and in lorries.

Their convoy caused a serious gridlock as many of the vehicles broke down and had to be pushed.

A car conveying about eight sect members also crashed along the Kubwa-Zuba expressway with one of the occupants sustaining a leg injury.

The police could not be reached for comment on the blockade of the roads by the sect members as the FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah did not respond to phone calls.

He had yet to respond to an SMS as of the time of filing this report.

Share your thoughts on the subject