NAZAS Empowers Widows, Less-Privileged in Lagos

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Emmanuel Onumah

Several widows and less-privileged people were recently empowered with cash donations and vocational tools during the 8th Ramadan disbursement exercise organised by the NASFAT Agency for Zakat and Sadaqat (NAZAS).

During the disbursement programme, which held at the agency’s headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, some beneficiaries received cash donations ranging from N50,000, N100,000 to N350,000 and vocational skills’ items such as industrial sewing machines, camera, deep freezers among others. Not less than 25 beneficiaries got Zakat funds on the basis of empowerment, health support and debt relief respectively.

Among the dignitaries who graced the event were the Chief Missioner of NASFAT Worldwide, As-Sheikh Maroof Abdulazeez Onike; NASFAT BoT Secretary; Alhaji Remi Babalola, and National Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Samiat Omolara Mumuni.

Incorporated on January 31, 2014, NAZAS is a non-governmental organisation established to take care of the needy in the society.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Zumurat who got N100,000 cash was overwhelmed. According to her, “I have already lost hope as I have no connection with staff of NAZAS or any members of NASFAT society. I now believe that the process is truly transparent without any element of bias.”

Another beneficiary from Agege, a widow who lost her husband in 2014 and was left with five children expressed excitement at the gesture from NAZAS. “This is a double blessing for me because my son received a scholarship from the same agency last year, and today, I have just received N50,000 to boost my petty trading. God will continue to enlarge the coast of the donors,” she prayed.

For Ajao Abdur Rasheed, a printer who lives at Ebute-Metta area of Lagos, the NAZAS gesture was a timely intervention. “I am a printer who is in desperate need of printer and other printing machines. But I am currently out of business due to lack of fund. With this N200,000 intervention received, I will revive my business,” Ajao enthused.

Ibrahim Abanikanda, a photographer who first filled the application form three years ago, said he got a D7200 Digital Camera which is worth about N350,000 in the market. “This gesture will surely play a key role in my life because apart from boosting my photographic business, it will give me extra income by using the machine to work for others. I am grateful to NAZAS.”

Supporting Ibrahim’s claim, another beneficiary, who also received a cheque of N150,000, said the intervention would alleviate her suffering. In an emotion-laden voice she prayed for the programme organisers.

Admonishing all the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors in their business endeavours, Alhaja Mumuni enjoined them to use the money and items given to them judiciously as this would encourage the agency to reach out to others.

In his remarks, chairman of the agency, Alhaji Niyi Yusuf acknowledged the support of Zakat payers and general donors who have contributed over N133 million since inception from which over 500 people have benefited.

The 8th Public disbursement of Zakat and Sadaqat, he noted, couldn’t have been possible without the donors. He reassured donors and beneficiaries that NAZAS would continue to uphold the established standard in collection and distribution of Zakat; in line with the dictates of Islam.

“Beyond regular disbursement held twice in a year (Muharram and Ramadan) to the needy, we have sponsored medical missions that provided medical treatment and drugs to over 2,300 persons, provided Iftar (breaking of fast) to over 1,400 persons and over 200 prison inmates (in conjunction with Muharram Sisters).

“NAZAS has also provided annual scholarship grants to over 120 students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The Agency provided relief materials to over 26,000 Internally-displaced persons in IDP camps in Borno, Yobe and Gombe states,” Yusuf added.
He urged the Muslim faithful to take full advantage of the holy month of Ramadan to increase acts of charity and pay Zakat and Sadaqat to NAZAS for distribution to the needy as directed by Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Corroborating Yusuf, Sheikh Onike urged the Muslim faithful to pay their Zakat as at when due. According to him, the only solution to poverty was Zakat.

Imam Onike enjoined the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds and avoid diversion or deviation from the purpose of the funds to allow Allah’s blessing on the fund.

Alhaji Babalola in his keynote address encouraged the salary earners to set aside 2.5% of their net monthly salary and pay on monthly basis. He charged the NAZAS management to step up the pace in creating awareness to encourage more Zakat donors in the society.
Relishing a successful Ramadan programme, the General Manager of the Agency, Mr. Sulaimon Akanni said assisting humanity gives him satisfaction and sense of fulfilment, and disclosed that it has been four years since the agency debuted and the 8th Public Disbursement held so far.

Akanni urged the Muslim community to take full advantage of Ramadan to pay 2.5% of their wealth (earnings) or greater than NISAB (Net Profit) as Zakat, an obligatory charity which is compulsory on all Muslims who have the financial ability to do so; and give Sadaqat, an optional and discretionary charity at the pleasure of the donor without any limit through the Agency.