It was joyful celebration on Sunday in Ibadan as beneficiaries of the Zakat/Sadaqat distribution berthed in the ancient city.
For the organisers of the event, Zakat/Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), it was songs of praises and commendations for them as beneficiaries revealed a renewed hope in their survival struggle.
At the event, no fewer than 39 people benefited from the proceeds of Zakat distributed in the Oyo State capital, southwest Nigeria when the ZSF held the first Zakat Distribution Ceremony (ZDC) in the ancient city. The event was staged at the Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, southwest Nigeria.
The beneficiaries were profuse in their praises for the organisation for rescuing them from the shackles of need which was threatening their future. For AbdulSalam Hafeez, gaining admission into the prestigious University of Ibadan (UI) was a dream comes true.
Unlike thousands of his peers who missed admission and had to pass through the rigours of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and other tedious processes before being admitted, Hafeez could not hide his joy the day he received his letter of admission.
However, his happiness is being short-lived due to financial constraint.
Like Hafeez, a physically challenged Kasali Taiwo decided not to make himself a burden to the society, hence learn the art of shoe making.
As a cobbler, Taiwo is bereft of tools to design and make shoes.
The same financial limitation also affects Mrs Sariyu Lasisi, a trader who could not meet up with her customers’ increasing demand.
Last Sunday, the burden of the trio and 36 others was reduced courtesy of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF).
Taiwo got shoe-making machine, Mrs Lasisi went home with deep freezer while Hafeez received cheque to cover his education needs.
The foundation is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization established in 2000 and incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
ZSF is inspired by Islamic faith to provide welfare and humanitarian services to the poor and needy Nigerians.
The House of Chiefs inside Governor’s Office, Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi in Ibadan North Local Government, venue of the event, was filled to capacity.
Eminent Ibadan sons and daughters came in early for the foundation’s first Zakat Distribution Ceremony (ZDC).
Among them were: Chairman, Oyo State Muslim Council, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni; the Nation columnist and Chairman, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Media Committee, Alhaji Femi Abbas; Alhaja Sekinat Tijani; Alhaji Isiaq Folorunsho; Alhaja Rahmatallah Olaegbe; Hajia Fasila Sulaiman; and Hajia Fatimah AbdulWahab.
The sum of N1.337 million were disbursed to 39 beneficiaries. Out of this amount, economic empowerment for the beneficiaries alone took 65 per cent; some of the beneficiaries went home with sewing machine, welding machine, vulcanizing machine, washing machine and various cash awards among others to support their initiatives to become entrepreneurs and self-reliant.
In his remarks, ZSF Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, described as historic, the arrival of Zakat foundation in Oyo State.
“As some of you may be aware, we have organized similar ZDCs in Ebonyi, Anambra, Osun, Lagos, Abia, Bayelsa and Rivers States. Today, it is the turn of Oyo State for three reasons. First and foremost, we are here to identify with the less-privileged people of Oyo State who have suffered a lot of deprivations, marginalization and neglect; secondly, to bring the good news of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation’s readiness to wipe off their tears and soothe their pains; and thirdly, to empower some of them economically so that they can attain economic independence and become self-reliant,” he said.
Imam Shuaib said the foundation is committed to the welfare of the poor especially those living below $1US Dollar a day who are more than 63 percent of the over 160 million Nigerians who have been pauperized and traumatised by the mismanagement of the nation’s resources and bad leadership.
He said: “Against this background, ZSF therefore intervenes by utilising the windows of Zakat (compulsory Alms-giving) and Sadaqat (charity) Fund to accomplish its welfare and humanitarian services to Muslims and non-Muslims suffering from abject poverty in the midst of abundant resources.
“At ZSF, our commitments to the well-being of these Nigerians are driven by our passion to help add values to the life of the poor and needy people and to also complement the welfare service being rendered by government to its people.
“It is our fervent belief that when individual avoid the culture of extravagance and wastefulness such as indulging in expensive Aso Ebi, organizing multi-million naira marriage, burial and house warming ceremonies while corporate citizens of Nigeria also demonstrate genuine concern about the plights of more than 113 million poor Nigerians and give helping hands to them by donating part of their profits for charity; then, we would be seen as fulfilling our socio-economic and spiritual responsibilities of our brothers and sisters as enjoined by Prophet Muhammad who said ‘Whosoever wakes up in a day and does not feel concern about the welfare of his fellow brethren, he is not one of them.’ If we all exhibit this kind of positive attitude and disposition to the less-privileged, we have no doubt that it will go a long way to add value to their lives and our country.”
Imam Shuaib enjoined successful beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity at their disposal to be self-reliant in future.
Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof Daud Noibi, described Zakat as a veritable tool for socio-economic integration, unity and national development.
According to him, Zakat is likely to reduce jealousy and hatred towards the wealthy if well institutionalized.
“The various vices that stand in the way of unity and progress are likely to be reduced to the minimum if not totally eradicated. This is likely to be fostered by the reduction of greed on the part of the wealthy, as the joyful payment of Zakat on a regular basis reduces the inordinate love of wealth,” Prof Noibi said.
Former Oyo State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, praised the foundation for reviving the age-long prophetic tradition.
“What the foundation gave out today are not below what politicians give to empower the people despite lots of fund allocated to them but here is an NGO without allocation from either federal, state or local government empowering the people in the real sense, this foundation deserved commendation and be supported,” he said.
The aim of Zakat, Shittu said, is to bring about practical redistribution of wealth.
“During the time of Prophet Muhammad, poverty was eradicated through the instrumentality of Zakat. If we can replicate the same thing in Nigeria, we can also eliminate poverty in our country,” he said.
A senior lecturer at the Department of Education Foundation and Counselling, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Dr Monsurat Musa, described the foundation’s gesture as worthwhile.
Dr Musa, who is the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) Public Relations Officers (PRO), said vices in the society will be reduced if welfarism of the populace is properly addressed.
Taiwo thanked the foundation for the giving him hope to live a normal life, devoid of begging.
“If more of people like me receive this kind of gesture, street begging will maximally reduced,” he said.
Hafeez, a student of Economics, said he can now concentrate on his studies without fear of funding.