•It will reduce economic inequality, crime — Adebule, Chief Imam of Lagos
…As Abdulhakeem advocates legal backing for charity.
charity organisation in the country, Zakaat and Sadaqah Foundation has distributed a total of N142.9million to 1,516 beneficiaries selected across Lagos State.
Both cash raging from N50,000 to N1million and equipment such as Grinding machine, Welding machine; generating sets, Freezers, tricycles, laptops, were given to artisans and individuals to grow their various businesses.
More than ten artisans got N1million each Zakaat and Sadaqah is a faith-based organization supporting the economic well-being of poor Nigerians and delivering quality Zakat assessment, collection and distribution services to both private and public individuals as well as corporate organisations as provided in the Qur’an; Chapters 9:103, 60. It doles out over 500million yearly in Zakaat to several Nigerians irrespective of religious affiliation.
Speaking at the 14th Zakat Distribution Ceremony of the Foundation held at the Alausa Secretariat Mosque, Ikeja, recently, Lagos State Deputy Governor Dr. Idiat Adebule, recommended the payment of Zakat (wealth redistribution) as one of the ways of alleviating poverty in the country, just as the Chief Imam of the State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abu Nolla urged Muslims to come together to fight poverty.
Adebule who was represented by the Lagos State Chairperson of College of Nigeria Pathologists (CNP) Prof Fatimah AbdulKareem, noted that the payment of Zakat would help to fight insecurity in the country.
Among other benefits that she attributed to the payment of Zakat are promotion of economic equality and promotion of love.
The deputy governor said, “When we take from the wealthy to distribute to the appropriate beneficiaries, there is constant circulation of wealth such that it is not concentrated in the hands of a few.
“Zakat gives rise to relative equality among mankind. It fosters feeling of love, and harmony as well as cohesion within the society. In the present day Nigeria, wealth circulates among a few while the majority languishes in poverty.
“The few wealthy ones, unfortunately, don’t feel secured living amongst the majority who are poor, hungry and angry; thus the wealthy spends so much on security when all it takes is to give out 2.5 per cent as zakat.
“It is economic inequality that results in increasing crime, hooliganism and other vices in the society. Zakat is a means to prevent all these vices in the society by ensuring social security.”
In the same vein, the Commissioner for Home Affairs Dr Abdullateef Abdulhakeem, urged government to give legal backing to Zakat.
According to him; “Anyone who possesses wealth must realise that he/she is a distributor on behalf of the giver – Allah. There is so much wealth within the community but because we have failed to activate our sense of generosity, so many people are suffering today.
“Charity will do a lot to alleviate poverty in the society. Zakat is something that even the government should give legal backing to. It will be a form of Public Private Partnership that will assist the government to get funds for the purpose of alleviating poverty.
“Organisations like this should be given support. Governance is also about touching the lives of people in the society .”
Chief Imam of Lagos State Sheikh Sulaiman Oluwatoyin Abou-Nollah, advised Muslims to prioritise investments in areas capable of reducing poverty among Muslims.
He said: “It is important for us to invest. We cannot get to the level that we want without any meaningful investmwent. It is key for us to invest. Zakaat is about enriching poor people so that they can get to the level that is sustainable. ”
The Chief Imam said the challenges confronting the Ummah in Lagos are multi-dimensional, adding that “apart from battling poverty,
other issues that have direct impact on the practice of our faith are numerous. Among such challenges are Muslim cemetery, Muslim hospital as well as investment company that will not only serve the employment need of Muslims but improve their economic well-being.”
Chairman of the occasion and immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Bello Rahmon, advised that investments should be focused towards the health needs of Nigeria.
He said: “This is one of the few events to showcase the beauty of Islam. It is an aspect of our religion that must be put to use. The level of unemployment is high. You find hundreds and thousands of graduates walking around with nothing to do. Zakat is one of the ways to resolve the challenges..
We must continue to consider the possibilities of setting up institutions that can assist with unemployment and health challenges. We need to set up clinics that attend to prevalent ailments in our society.”
Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation Executive Director Prince Sulayman Olagunju, said the foundation was worried about the growing rate of poverty in the country.
“We were deeply touched to see the numbers of Nigerians who were wallowing in abject poverty, which has been one of the propelling forces driving us to step up zakat collections on yearly basis despite the economic situation of our country.
“Today, with the support of our zakat payers, we are pleased to inform you that the sum of N142,938,905 is being distributed to 1,516 beneficiaries in Lagos State out of the N318,152,130 Zakat mobilized for this year, 2018 as at October 31.
“However, we still have a long way to go. We appeal to Muslims passionately to help us create jobs, by contributing their own quota to building an egalitarian society.”
ZSF Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Tajudeen Yusuf, appealed to Nigerians to join in the effort to stop poverty in the country.
“Poverty can be eradicated in Nigeria. We are prepared to work towards the eradication. Poverty is not our own portion as Muslims, so we are not just focused on alleviating but eradicating.
“It is gratifying for me that each year we come here, our performance has always been better that previous year.
“Secondly, a programme titled KOSOSI Forum would be launched on Sunday, December 23, 2018 where we seek to equip our economic empowerment beneficiaries in such a manner that they become economically accountable and self-reliant.”
Jaiz Charity Foundation Executive Director Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, warned against the danger of not paying Zakat.
“ Allah gave us the institution of Zakaat for specific purpose but some of us are ungrateful elements. Some Muslims are capable of paying but they won’t pay. Muslims should not be rich and poor at the same time. Zakat is a potent tool for poverty alleviation. We must be prepared to pay our zakat, it is a contradiction that we are rich, yet poor,” he said.