Marked for Deportation, Ghanaian Scholar Cries for Help

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

By Taiwo Olawale

Malam Issah Hassan Tikumah, a former Social Studies lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has alleged that he is being hounded by security men and some “reactionary forces” because of a book he wrote on the niqab (face veil worn by Muslim women). He said he now lives in fear.

In a letter to THISDAY editor, Tikumah, who is a Ghanaian, revealed that his troubles started early this year when he published a book titled, Niqab (Face-veil): An Exemplary Sunnah or a Repugnant Innovation? He said some people, who opposed the contents of the book, threatened violence. To pacify them, the management of the university stopped the publication of the book and sacked him with immediate effect.

But his problems did not go away after the sack. He was detained by the police and some people wrote a petition to the state government. “It is a book I have published with all the necessary facts and yet I’m being treated like a hardened criminal just because some reactionary elements within the society are against that book. More than a month after my release or bail, I still have to report to the security everyday like a criminal whose run-away from prosecution is not unexpected – all this trouble for merely publishing a book some people are not happy with!”

Though some of his students have protested his sack and shabby treatment, he noted that security agencies have continued to harass him, threatening him with deportation in spite of the fact that he has “lived in Nigeria for the last 12 years, received my higher education in Nigeria and three of my children are Nigerians by birth.”

He said the most worrying aspect of the security treatment is the insistence of some policemen that they are watching him and would deal with him anytime they are ready, stressing that they now call him a “CIA agent disguising as a Muslim” so that they can easily hang him.

Tikumah rued the fact that he is being treated so badly despite the fact that he has “been struggling for the cause of Islam for the past 31 years.” He said, “And how could anyone accuse me of threatening peace and security in Nigeria when I have spent a great deal of my time, energy and money over the years working to foster peace and security in Nigeria?”


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