The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Islamic body, Alhaji Umar Zaria Ahmed, said the fire started from the main hall of the building, probably as a result of an electrical fault. It razed the main conference hall of the secretariat, completely.
As news of the incident spread, some youths alleged that the incident was politically inspired, and started a street protest, which soon turned into a rampage. They blocked the major highway leading to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and the Kawo district, smashing vehicles and wounding some commuters.
Ironically, the youths, who said they were protesting the fire incident, initially barred men of the fire service department from entering the JNI premises to stop the fire. However, operatives from the state government’s security outfit, Operation Yaki, fired teargas to disperse the irate youths, which then enabled the firemen to arrest the blaze before it could ruin the entire JNI building.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Aminu Lawan, said the police have already begun investigation into the incident. The state governor, Mr Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, called for calm among Moslems in the state and beyond, assuring them that there was no external hand in the incident. He commiserated with the Sultan of Sokoto, who is head of JNI, as well as the entire leadership of Northern Moslems, and pledged the state government’s assistance towards rebuilding the secretariat.