SENEGALESE Muslim clerics, led by Grand Khalifah Tijjani Ahmed Ibrahim Inyass, were at the Presidential Villa on Saturday at the invitation of President Goodluck Jonathan to join him in praying for God’s intervention in the insecurity situation in the country.
The clerics had come to the country for a programme in Gombe but the president requested them to visit him before they returned to Senegal.
Grand Khalifah Tijjani is the son of Shehu Ibrahim Inyass, the late founder of the Tijjaniyas Muslim sect.
With Khalifah Sheikh Ahmed Tijjani Inyass were Tijjani Awwalu, Muhammadau Makky Inyass, Mansur Inyass, Ahmed Tijjani Inyass, Bashir Inyass, Inyass Mustapha Inyass, Abdulahi Muhammad Maigemu, Ibrahim Dahiru Bauchi and Aliyu Ibrahim.
Spokesman of the group that came to the Villa, Ahmed Tijjani Sani Anwalu, told State House correspondents after the meeting which took place at the First Lady’s Wing, that their presence at the Presidential Villa was historic and in line with the precedence set by the founder of the sect.
He recalled that Shehu Ibrahim Inyass had similarly visited former Heads of State, Generals Aguiyi Ironsi and Yakubu Gowon when they were at the helms of the nation’s affair.
According to him, they were in the Villa with a message for all Muslims and non-Muslims to come together to pray for peaceful co-existence and for an end to the security situation in the country.
He said: “It is a historic visit because it has been done by his (Grand Khalifah’s) father with the then president, General Yakubu Gowon and General Aguiyi Ironsi. So, the history is repeating itself and we came for the Maulud of Ibrahim Inyass Gombe and on his way going home, the president requested for a courtesy visit and Shehu granted that.”
On whether they raised any issue of concern with the president, the spokesperson said: “We want to put ourselves together, all Muslims and non-Muslims, for peaceful co- existence and prayers so that we can all fight the insecurity in this country.
“The main purpose of coming here is part of the prayers for peace in this country.”
Also present at the meeting were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Jones Arogbofa, Chief of Staff to the President; Mohammed Abubakar Kachalla, Deputy Chief of Staff; Bukar Goni Aji, Head of Service; ministers including Mohammed Adoke (Attorney-General and Minister of Justice); Bala Mohammed (Federal Capital Territory); Zainab Maina (Women Affairs); Idris Umar (Transport); Khaliru Alhassan (Minister of State Health); Asmau Mohammed (Minister of State for Agriculture) and Dr. Reuben Abati (Special Adviser on Media and Publicity), among others.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadou Keita of Mali was also at the Presidential Villa on Saturday to discuss with Jonathan on how to deal with the insurgency in parts of the country.
He told State House correspondents after the meeting that he was in Abuja to discuss with Jonathan on the way forward in the fight against Boko Haram.
He said: “I have come to meet my brother on the issue of insecurity to see what we can do. That is why I’m here this morning.
“I came to meet my brother. I’m also grateful to him and Nigerian people for their warmth reception since I came into Abuja and good luck to Nigerians.”