Islamic organisation empowers former pastor, 32 others in Ebonyi


An Islamic faith-based Organisation, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation has empowered thirty-three women and men in Ebonyi State with entrepreneurial equipments and cash valued at over One million five hundred Thousand naira.

The event held at the New Haven hotel, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital on Saturday, was part of the Organization's annual Zakat distribution ceremony.
Materials distributed to beneficiaries by the Organisation included 4 Sewing Machines and a Laser Jet Computer Printer, while various amounts of cash were given to other beneficiaries based on their requests and needs.
In his remarks at the event, the Vice President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Haraun Ajah, explained that while  the Organization requested for 50 applications for the empowerment, they received 58, out of which 33 persons were successful.

Eight persons out of the number received materials ranging from Sewing Machines to Printers, including the Yoruba Community which benefited a Borehole project.

Twenty-five others received cash of differing amounts, including some Internally Displaced Persons from Igbeagu, in Izzi Local government area of the State.

Ajah, also a Committee member of the Federal government Special Works Programme, and a former National Commissioner of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, observed that Crimes in society were mainly driven by poverty, emptiness and  idleness.

He stressed that Zakat as one of the pillats of Islam was introduced to address those issues by bridging the extreme gap between the rich and the poor.

He appreciated the organisation for the gesture and admonished the beneficiaries to employ the benefits into judicious use while praying for the continuation of the programme.

Ajah said: "We have been coming  here, year in, year out for many years now, for us to take control and contribute to one aspect of modern and ancient developmental strides which is social justice, poverty eradication, life enhancement.

"We know the essence of our modern society is to take care of security of lives and property, and peace for our existence, and in addition, to provide welfare to the people...

"Zakat itself is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.

"Islam is build on five strong pillars: from the testimony of the unity of Allah, to prayers, to fasting, to Zakat and to the pilgrimage to.Mecca.

"This aspect which we are here today, which is the Zakat is meant to be a bridge between the haves and the have-nots; between the rich and the poor; between the privileged and the less privileged.

"It is also an instrument of enhancing the love for humanity, because human beings are from one family, and we profess one faith which is Abrahamic faith."

The Chief Executive/Executive Director of the foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, represented by the organisation's head of ICT department, Alhaji Mutiu Shittu, noted that the Organisation formed in 2002 visits over 19 States every year with its empowerment.

He explained that Zakat was founded on the principle of taking from the rich and enhancing the poor, thereby touching lives positively, especially among the Muslims.

He underscored the importance of Zakat in Islamic faith and encouraged the Muslim Umar to always pay their Zakat such that the gap between the rich and the poor in society would continue to narrow.

He further encouraged beneficiaries to help spread the news of the foundation and its mission of harnessing the Zakat for the good of the less privileged, adding that most people were still ignorant of the real essence of Zakat.

Some of the beneficiaries, including one Chinyere Otu and another, Khadijat Kiama, who said she was a pastor in a Christian Church before joining Islam, appreciated the foundation for the gesture, promising never to disappoint them.

Kiama said: "I am very happy today,

"I love Islam.

"I was a pastor for Seven to Eight years, but at a time, I said No, I'm not going to be a pastor again, I want to become a Muslim.

"And nobody preached to me, I became a Muslim all by myself, and I met people that help me.

"My Imam has been helping me, and every body there has been helping me.

"Today, see me having a new Printer, and I am very happy that Zakat is really in existence, and it has helped somebody like me.

"People have deserted me, and I am fighting to be on my feet.

"I say, may Allah help Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation."

Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation is a non-governmental and non-profit organization incorporated in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (RC 21237 in 2002).  

Its primary objective is to deliver quality Zakat assessment, collection and distribution services to both private and public individuals as well as corporate organizations; providing humanitarian and welfare services to mankind, especially Muslims.

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