The Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, a faith-based NGO, says has empowered 2,647 people with cash and working tools amounting to N220,348,391 under its 2019 zakat distribution.
The Executive Director of the foundation, Prince Sulaiman Olagunju said this at the ground finale of zakat distribution in Lagos State, where 1,664 people received cash and various items totalling N167,374,712 on Sunday in Lagos.
Olagunju said the amount of empowerment distribution this year in Lagos is higher than that of last year by N25 million.
“I am pleased to inform that the sum of N167,374,712 is being distributed to 1,664 beneficiaries in Lagos State to formally end this year’s Zakat distribution that began in June across the nation.
“The amount being disbursed here today is about N25 million more than that of last year that stood at N142,938,905 in the state,’’ he said.
The executive director said that with the support of zakat payers and other well-spirited individuals, the foundation was able to increase the number of states where zakat was distributed to 21 this year as against 17 states in 2018.
According to him, in 2019, the four new states where the foundation distributed zakat funds were Kogi, Nazarawa, Niger and Zamfara.
“It is noteworthy that despite the economic situation of the country, we were able to move up zakat collection from N318,152,130 mobilised at the end of October 2018 to N325,346,697 as at September 2019.
“The amount of zakat disbursed so far this year, including the one being distributed today across the 21 states stands at N220,348,391 to 2647 beneficiaries.
“This show a slight increase of about N16 million above last year’s disbursement.’’
Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf reiterated the collection and distribution of zakat “is an obligation that all Muslims owe to Allah.
“In the same vein, we as recipients, must see this as an opportunity to improve our circumstance from being needy to being on the path of prosperity’’.
Yusuf said that the activities of the foundation, as an NGO, is geared towards contributing to the nation-building.
“Just like being experienced in the conventional tax collection, there is need to widen the zakat payer bracket.
“There are still many able Muslims, who may not know that a foundation like ours exists who collect and distribute zakat.
“It is, therefore, the duty of our current payers to introduce us to these categories of Muslims,’’ he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, Dr Abdullah Shuaib, Executive Director of Jaiz Charity Foundation in Abuja called for working collaboration between the Z&S Foundation and Lagos State Government towards alleviating poverty among the populace.
He urged the foundation to liaise with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in this direction.
By Oluwashina Iyanda