Lawal Basil Agusto

Lawal Basil Agusto was an Islamic cleric and scholar. He founded Jamat-at-ul Islamiyya, one of the major Islamic associations of the southwest region of Nigeria. Agusto was born in 1885 in Lagos Muslim family. After mastering the reading of the Holy Quran through an Arabic pizza school, he commenced at the age of ten, his primary school education. Agusto had his secondary education at the C.M.S. Grammar School and joined the school of pharmacy where he took lectures in sciences at the King’s College in Lagos. After qualifying as a pharmacist his interest waned and he opted to study law when he left Nigeria for the United Kingdom in 1920. Four years later, he became the first Muslim lawyer in West Africa to be called to bar.

Agusto was a pioneer member of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria but he renounced membership when he realized that members in Southfield, London believed founder, Ghullam Ahmad was a prophet, against his belief that prophet Muhammed was the seal of all prophets. On his return to Nigeria he founded the Islamic Society of Nigeria after failing to convince friends at the Ahmadiyya Movement. He was however followed by a couple, including H.A. Subar, B.A. Disu, and Booyamin Gbajabiamila. Agusto’s organization changed name in 1964 to Jamat-al-ul Islamiyya of Nigeria.

Agusto was made a Queen’s Counsel (now called Senior Advocate of Nigeria) in 1959. Around this time, he involved himself in social activism that bordered on girl education, and the extension of educational facilities to Muslim children. Agusto authored the book, Jesus on the advent of Muhammad before he became late on 26 July, 1971.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer