Despite the economic downturn due to the exacerbation of the COVID-19 pandemic and total lockdown that ensued afterwards, a faith-based non-governmental organisation, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF) known for supporting the economic well-being of the less privileged in Nigeria has doled out material and financial assets worth of N242 million naira from the Zakat proceeds to over 3,000 beneficiaries across the country, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
The assets donated to the beneficiaries, including artisans, entrepreneurs and self-employed Nigerian citizens, are — mini buses, grinding machines, generating sets, freezers, tricycles, cutting machines, milling machines, stoning machines, industrial machines and cheque money.
Seven (7) boreholes were also dug in some of the communities in Nigeria.
During ZSF 2020 Zakat disbursement held at the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Ikeja, Lagos, the Executive Director, ZSF, Prince Sulayman Olagunju commended donors of Zakat for the double contributions this year and urged well-meaning Nigerians to key in to Zakat payment.
He said the 2020 Zakat proceeds is highly remarkable due to the generosity of Nigeria Muslims.
According to him, “Over 320 Million Naira was mobilised at the end of October, 2020 and 242 Million has been disbursed. This year has been so remarkable. On our side, we did not expect that we will be able to achieve this feat because of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. 0
“So, many people had disbursed their zakat during the lockdown in order to assist people. But to our surprise, towards the end of Ramadan, we started receiving another set of alerts from those that had paid their zakat before. We are humbled by their donations and acts of charity. That is why we are able to gather here today.”
Prince Olagunju urged the government to establish Zakat Institutions across the country in order to assist in poverty eradication.
“We still need to do a lot of advocacy to let the government see that zakat payment is beyond religious issues. Even if people are talking of religious issues in this country, Nigeria is a multi-religious country, where everybody should be given their right. Muslims are not asking non-Muslims to pay zakat. What we want is an enabling environment where Muslims would be encouraged to pay their zakat and it will be shared among the needy.”
“In parts of the country like Sokoto, Kebbi where their government institutionalized zakat, the amount of zakat they mobilized cannot be compared to what we have in our environment here, same as the impact.
“We hope our government the, especially Lagos state government will take a look at this because we have been doing wonderfully well in Lagos state. Look at the amount of zakat we have collected and disbursed in Lagos state. It is well over one billion naira in the past 5 years. So it is all enough to know that if we are given an enabling environment, zakat impact will be felt in Lagos state.”
He advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of saving, as it is one of the methods employed by financially independent individuals and would be of assistance in times of need. Rather than spend all at once and become broke later, a characteristic of the consistently penniless.
“Learn how to save, no matter how little, it will always be helpful at one time or the other. If you cannot save when you have little, definitely when it is plenty you will not be able to save. Many of our people are not saving. They exhaust everything that they have at once.”
He called on the beneficiaries to embrace sadaqah (voluntary donations), even if they are not ripe for zakat according to the rulings regarding zakat and their financial capacity. So as to benefit as they have been benefitted.
“Beneficiaries should know that those who have paid this zakat are being magnanimous. Not that they don’t have where to put their money or they are being religious by paying their zakat. They should start paying sadaqah. They can pay five naira, ten naira. Our foundation started on the basis of five naira, ten naira and we are still on that basis. we have never left that basis”.
He urged those who applied and were not granted their requests to keep on applying.
“The amount of money we are mobilizing is not enough to go round. If you are not opportune this year, maybe next year you will be opportuned”, he said.
A fashion designer with both speech and hearing impairments, Abdul Qudus Dauda, was one of the beneficiaries of ZSF 2020 disbursement who was granted an Industrial sewing machine.
According to Abdul Qudus’ mother who came with him to receive the grant, Mrs Dauda Mariam informed that her son was both a talented and skilled tailor which was a quality that attracted many customers to him, but he was in need of an industrial sewing machine to aid his job and productivity.
She made a point to note that she couldn’t afford the machine which cost about a hundred thousand for the boy but all praises to Almighty Allah who has used the ZSF to make the boy’s dream become a reality and she is most grateful for that.
Another beneficiary, Qasim Olayinka, who deals in the production of wooden furnitures, was also among the beneficiaries. He said that he requested a circular saw machine, cutting board, screw driver machine, jig-saw and generator, and he was granted three items out of the four he requested for. He commended the organization for their efforts and prayed for the donors.
Mrs. Kudrat Adebayo, was one of those who received a grinding machine. She said she requested for money, but the organisation advised her to rather get a material asset that can bring forth money, rather than money that would get finished if not utilized or invested right. And so she was provided with a grinding machine in order to avoid falling into being penniless again.
A beneficiary, Rahmat Dupe was given a deep freezer to enhance her soft-drink trading business. She commended the donors and prayed to Aallah to continue to bless them.
An Orphan, Itunu Aworunse also received a sewing machine to enhance her fashion design business.
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