Photo story: ‘Segregation’ At Abuja National Muslims Prayer Ground

Photo story: ‘Segregation’ At Abuja National Muslims Prayer Ground

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 8:17 pm


The new VIPs portion of the prayer ground, complete with canopies, fans and well armed security operatives for comfort and security

The new VIPs portion of the prayer ground, complete with canopies, fans and well armed security operatives for comfort and security

The National Muslims prayer ground along Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Road, Abuja which used to be one vast land, allowing the rich and the poor to freely mingle during prayers has been demarcated.

Worshipers who came for Eid-el-Fitr prayers on Wednesday

Well armed security operatives keep watch to ensure there is no straying from the commoners' ground where trees are providing shade for the worshipers to the privileged area where the VIPs and their family members are praying under tents

Well armed security operatives keep watch to ensure there is no straying from the commoners’ ground where trees are providing shade for the worshipers to the privileged area where the VIPs and their family members are praying under tents

discovered that a portion of the prayer ground have been barricaded with iron bars and reserved for VIPs.

The VIPs’ section came with tents to keep the important personalities away from the elements as well as fans to keep them cool for the few minutes the prayers will last.

Complementing the well woven iron bars are well armed soldiers and officials of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps at alert to ensure that there was no straying from the commoners’ side of the praying ground.

The barricade, it was gathered, was done to prevent access to the VIPs by ‘unruly individuals’ who usually take advantage of the relaxed security before, during and after prayers to commit all kinds of ‘atrocities,’ including begging for alms.

Children struggle to catch glimpses of the VIPs at the 'other side' of the Praying Ground

Children struggle to catch glimpses of the VIPs at the ‘other side’ of the prayer ground

As observed on Wednesday, the barricade indeed succeeded in barring the ‘commoners’ from the more affluent worshipers if that was indeed the purpose of the segregation.

The idea to barricade a portion of the prayer ground for VIPs was probably borne out the security breach last year when President Muhammadu Buhari has to be smuggled out of the prayer ground.

Barred from mingling with the VIPs, these worshipers peep at them through the iron barricade

Barred from mingling with the VIPs, these worshipers peep at them through the iron barricade

The worshipers created a security nightmare as tbecame ncontrollable in their bid to touch the President after prayers.

The President remarked later that he could have been stabbed during the rowdiness that resulted from the mob action.

Perhaps, this was why the President chose to pray at a safer Mogadishu Cantonment prayer ground this morning. But will the President return to pray at the prayer ground with the new and obviously more secure, VIPs section?

Photo story: ‘Segregation’ At Abuja National Muslims Prayer Ground, by FEMI IPAYE

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