Tension is currently brewing in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, over a picture posted on the social media showing some Muslims praying on a portion of the road to Opolo, a suburb of the capital. The road leads to a cottage medical facility, Diete Koki Hospital.
The picture has attracted angry comments from indigenes of the state, with commenters expressing their outrage that the Muslims were allowed to block the road. “This religious hypocrisy of worshiping in the middle of the road and denying other road users is unacceptable and should stop,” read a comment on the picture.
Another poster called on Mr. Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa State, and Chairman of Yenagoa Local Government Area, who hails from Opolo, to warn Muslims to desist from blocking the road during Friday prayers.
“Will those, who are close to the Yenagoa Local Government Chairman (who is also from Opolo) and the Governor of Bayelsa State inform, them (Muslims) that the ‘handshake’ has gone above the wrist and heading towards the elbow. When e don reach elbow, na fight bi dat ooo,” the poster warned.
Others warned that the government should immediately move to stop the practice, with one asking: “What is going on in our country? Are they trying to Islamize us in this country or what? If churches begin to block roads every Sunday, the government will not even allow it, but they are now silent.”
The comment provoked a disagreement, with a poster saying: “We, the Christians, have even done worse during our different programmes when roads and streets are blocked for hours without anybody making an issue of it. Please, let’s learn to live peacefully with all men just like Christ did instruct us.”
The attempt to pacify those angry was not kindly taken to. A commenter retorted by saying blocking a road without permission is unacceptable because it could lead to loss of lives during medical emergencies.
“You cannot try to be just and fair by taking sides with an illegality. What is bad is bad! It is criminal to block any road without permission. Don't you shiver at the grave danger of loss of lives during emergencies, especially when critically sick people are rushed to the Diete Koki Hospital, directly blocked by your brothers?” asked the poster.
Despite the outrage being generated, no Bayelsa State government official was willing to comment on the matter when SaharaReporters drew their attention to the matter.