An 8-year old girl, Aishat Salisu was among 49 Muslims, who benefited from an N5 million zakat fund distributed by the Jaiz Zakat and Waqf Trust Foundation (JZWTF) at the weekend in Lagos.
The Renaissance reports that first zakat distribution by the Islamic financial conglomerate took place at the University of Lagos Central Mosque Multipurpose Hall, Akoka.
While distributing cheques and empowerment tools to the beneficiaries, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, the Chief Executive Officer of the JZWTF said Aishat, suffering from limb deformity on got N410,000 for an orthopaedic surgery on her legs.
“In Lagos, the Board of directors of Jaiz Family has gracious approved N5 million for distribution to 49 beneficiaries in Lagos State.
“Out of this, 28 beneficiaries were considered to receive economic empowerment to either start new businesses or to grow existing businesses,’’ Shuaib said.
Eight persons were considered to receive financial assistance to meet their educational needs while another eight beneficiaries were supported with funds to meet their accommodation needs in Lagos, in view of the hardship associated with housing challenges in the state.
The remaining five beneficiaries were given financial assistance to offset their medical bills, among whom is the little Aishat.
“The least beneficiary here today gets N40,000 while the beneficiary with the highest financial assistance received N410,000.
Some Islamic organisations like the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) also received financial assistance of N350,000 to equip their office
Shuaib called for hands of collaboration between the JZWTF and all Islamic organisations like The Muslim Congress (TMC), NASFAT, The Companions and MURIC in the country with a view to driving its initiative programme of alleviating poverty among the Muslim Ummah.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof Lai Olurode, described the zakat distribution by JZWTF as very important because it showcases the practicality of Islam.
“Islam as a religion is not just about worship and praying five times daily.
“It is about politics, it is about economic empowerment, it is poverty eradication and it is about development in all its ramifications,’’ Olurode, who doubles as the Chairman of the Unilag Muslim Community, said.
He also remarked that education was a very important key element in poverty eradication.
“ So, if our children are not in school, if our children are not empowered, it will be difficult to attain greater height in this world and prepare for the hereafter.
“This is why what Jaiz is doing is very significant because it is going to take a lot of people out of poverty. So, I want to commend Jaiz family.
The chairman requested that Jaiz management should recognise the University of Lagos Muslim Community as an institutional beneficiary of zakat fund.
“When you give us this fund, it will go a long way to stem poverty among students of the university as many of them could not afford three-square-meal a day, noting that as little as N100,000 would go a long way to maintain the students on campus.
“Besides, he said the community required a minimum of N2.5 million to maintain the mosque every month, excluding stationeries and salaries of workers among other needs.’’
In his welcome remarks, the Director-General/CEO of Jaiz Zakat and Waqf Trust Fund, Ambassador Adamu Babangida traced the history of the Islamic financial conglomerate to 2007 when the idea was hatched.
“It took almost 11 odd years for Dr Umaru Muttallab and other professionals in this country that took their time and efforts to see to the establishment of the first non-interest Islamic bank in Nigeria.
“Jaiz Bank came into existence some six years ago, starting as a regional bank.
“Alhamdulillah, today, it is a national bank authorised to own branches in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and the branches have started to increase from last year when the national licence was obtained.
“If you have noticed in Lagos, Southwest, Southeast and other regions of Nigeria, we have been in the process of expanding and opening branches.
AUDIO CLIP OF AMB. ADAMU BABANGIDA
“Now, this bank, the whole of Jaiz Bank PLC also decided to establish the Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation with the objectives of having the corporate social responsibility of the bank and to be fully involved in developmental and charitable activities for the development of Nigeria and especially the less privileged in the society,’’ Babangida said.
He said the foundation has taken up a fundamental aspect of Islamic welfare by establishing the Zakat and Waqf Management.
“The foundation has deemed it fit to establish a special section that will be technically able to do collection and distribution of zakat and its management in this country.
“And that gave rise to the establishment of Jaiz Zakat and Waqaf Trust Fund.’’
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Fatima Abiola Ilesanmi, on behalf of others, thanked the JZWTF for the gesture and prayer that come next year, that these beneficiaries too should be economically stable to be able to also start paying zakat.
The Renaissance reports that sewing machines, industrial sewing machine and welding tools were among the empowerment items distributed at the occasion.
By Our Correspondent