The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has denied reports that a mosque was demolished in the state capital, Port Harcourt.
He made this known in a statement on Monday following reports that the state government spearheaded the demolition of the religious building.
The report, in the last 24 hours, triggered controversy and criticisms from Nigerians on social media.
The Governor, however, described the reports as “false and unfortunate”. He said the false report was planted by mischief makers to create disaffection.
According to the statement by his spokesperson, Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike told journalists that there was no mosque on the ground, hence nothing was demolished.
“I received calls from several prominent Nigerians on the fake news being circulated online. I have come here with reporters and you can see there was no Mosque here,” Wike was quoted as saying.
“It is most unfortunate that fickle minded persons will claim that a Mosque was demolished at this place, when no Mosque existed here. The story was concocted by mischief makers to score cheap points.”
The Governor said some persons started erecting “illegal” foundation at the disputed land, when they had no approval to embark on any construction work.
“The persons who started the foundation had already dragged the State Government to court on the disputed land. The Rivers State Government won the case. What they attempted to do was to start the illegal construction to tie the hands of the State Government,” he said.
Wike asked the Muslim community in the state to show him where a mosque was demolished. He also urged Muslims not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to peddle false stories.
He added that the state government operates within the rule of law and will not be distracted by the illegal circulation of fake reports.