A group of Muslim communities and mosques on the Island and the Lekki corridor of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria have formed a coalition that will address their yearnings and proffer workable solutions to a plethora of challenges facing their existence in the contemporary secular society.
One of the major issues that came to the fore at the formal introduction and get-together of the group, named ‘Island Muslims Coalition (IMC)’ was the need to raise fund and build a modern graveyard for the entire community in the Lagos Island metropolis.
At the event held on Sunday, June 26, at the Jubrin Ayinla Multipurpose hall of Lekki Central Mosque, Lekki, the Coalition also revealed plans to have an orphanage and old people’s home as well as a youth entrepreneurship centre, which will help them address growing youth restiveness.
Why Muslim cemetery – Chairman, IMC
IMC Secretary, Alhaji Idris Taiwo, in his speech at the event, expressed the need for a cemetery facility that will serve the Muslim community in Lagos Island.
According to him, “The need for various Muslim compliant facilities and structures to serve our Islamic purpose cannot be overemphasized and has been long coming for the Muslim Ummah habiting along the Lekki corridor (Lagos Island) in general. A cemetery facility has been particularly lacking amongst others thus, it became an exigent starter for our actualization journey.
“We have had to travel far and beyond the peninsula to bury our dead often, majorly due to unavailability of a Muslim cemetery in the immediate environ. Though we always meet favour with other Muslim communities who have successfully over the years established their cemeteries, it is gradually becoming inconvenient for all. And that we are having challenges in building ours within our immediate environment currently is clear. The grave should be a daily reminder and be ready to serve its purpose!
He appreciated the efforts of different mosques and organisations who have taken positive steps in the past and currently towards securing a peaceful final place of abode for their deceased in the community but overwhelmed by various challenges.
“Challenges ranging from identifying appropriate & availability of land, finance and more. In particular, some masajid (plural of mosques) and communities such as Lighthouse community, VGC Masjid, Lekki Muslim Ummah, Roxton Masjid just to mention a few are trying independently to establish and build a Muslim Cemetery Facility of their own, this process has continued.
“While identifying this common need and faced with similar challenges from personal experiences and sharing individual efforts and notes, Allah in His infinite mercies has drawn us together in a coalition in this quest and more!,” he noted.
Speaking further, Alhaji Taiwo said, “This coalition after the first meeting (held early this year) gradually metamorphosed further and became an umbrella body of the Muslim communities and organizations at all levels domiciled on the Island. And this simply birthed the Island Muslims Coalition (IMC). This will not just serve as a voice but, also create a structure to impact positively on the presence and needs of the Muslim Ummah here and beyond.
“This will involve a proportional representation from all Muslim communities within. In shaa Allah, it will strategize itself to promote our Muslim ideals while cohabiting within our secular habitat and the society at large.
“Unanimously the cemetery project as a stimulus that inspired this coalition becomes our pilot project. It is worthy to mention that work has long commenced on its proposal with an able joint committee in place to see it to success amongst others to come.
“It is also important to note that the formal formation and registration of the IMC has been initiated and it will constitute a governing board of trustees proportionately drawn from all Muslim communities and masajid for an all-inclusive outreach and result,” he said.
Fighting youths restiveness
In his submission, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of IMC and Deputy President of the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti said the youth development centre would specifically target the engagement of youths to stem the tide of restiveness in the society.
The Muslim leader stated that the Island Muslim Coalition, an initiative to strive on Muslim structure and ideas, would be playing its part through the building of the entrepreneurship centre in Osapa along the Lekk-Epe Expressway.
He said, “Apart from the issue of Muslim cemetery, we also planning to build entrepreneurship centre. Already, we have a donation of an hectare of land in Osapa to build the centre so as to train Muslim youths on different skills and make them useful to themselves. When you are young, you think it’s about money.
“But when you grow older, you understand it’s about wealth creation. Wealth creation is a vast area. It’s not only money, it includes endowment, skills, knowledge, commitment, transfer.
“The Prophet said there will be three things left when each of us is gone. The knowledge you have imparted, a good son and whatever work you have done. So, we need to hand over to our youths those basic things that make a Muslim a better human being.”
Appeal to Muslim community, especially parents
Managing Director of Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole decried the breakdown of family ties while appealing to parents to take the training of their children with utmost seriousness.
According to him, “Crime among youths stems from the absence of knowledge. So, they should search for knowledge. When there is no knowledge, you think going that route is better. It is a fickle that will overtime disappear, no matter the amount of money you make from it. It may take time but Allah will render it useless. If you don’t work for something, it is not going to last with you.”
Also speaking, a Trustee of IMC, Ariyo Olushekun, described IMC as a platform to strengthen collaboration among the Muslim faithful in the Island axis. Read more about the get-together HERE
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