By Bennett Oghifo
As Muslims all over the world celebrate the Eid-Al-fitr, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT), in celebration of the end of Ramadan, fed no fewer than 6,500 less-privileged across Nigeria and showered over N60 million on vulnerable people.
The Islamic organisation on Salah day put smiles on the faces of the needy in the society during Eid Al-Fitr celebration. The society, through its ‘feed a mouth’ programme reached out to 6,500 persons in 130 outlets across the 22 zones of the society.
The programme, which is a tradition of the society, was to felicitate with Muslims in Nigeria and in the diaspora to mark the end of Ramadan. The programme this year was extended to zones of the society outside Nigeria. Some of the outlets which benefitted from the feeding include, Alausa community, Ikeja, Ogba, Imota, Epe, Ijora Olopa, just to mention a few.
According to a statement by NASFAT’s Welfare Secretary, Alhaji AbdulRahman Olarinde, the initiative was designed to cater for those intending to fast but have no means. It equally provided saahu and Iftar meals for the beneficiaries through the fasting period.
Prior to the feeding programme held on Sunday, NASFAT had also, disbursed N60.9m in cash and food items to the vulnerable in the society, as palliative measure to mitigate the effect of the lockdown and movement restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic ravaging the country and the world at large.
It would be recalled that the government recently announced a complete lockdown and restriction of gatherings of people in the nation to curtail the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
The restriction of movement of persons and vehicles had greatly affected the means of livelihood of many Nigerians, particularly those who live on daily income.
And to bring succour to the less privileged, no fewer than 18,942 households and 113,652 people benefited from the disbursement across the 22 zones of the society over 47 days of the lockdown. Some households got 10,000 while some got food items.
Speaking with journalists, a widow and a beneficiary, Mrs. Moinat Abdulakeem said she was surprised because, she “had thought that, due to the pandemic, NASFAT would not be carrying out the Ramadan feeding programme as they normally do yearly. “Even when I heard they would be coming, I was still doubting. But on getting here, I met them on ground and I have collected my package. I want to say a big thank you to them and may Allah continue to uplift them.”
Another Beneficiary, Sulaimon Ibrahim said, “Fasting within this pandemic has not been easy. We aren’t working hence, no money to eat quality food after fasting. And this is why I must commend NASFAT for this kind gesture. I am very happy and grateful to them,” he said.
In the case of Mrs. Omobolanle Onifade and her three children, not only have they not had such a rich meal since the lockdown began, they only got to hear about the feeding programme few minutes before it commenced, and nonetheless, still benefitted from it. “My children and I have been all alone since the lockdown. My husband is stranded in Abuja and it has not been easy on me and my children since the lockdown, and the Ramadan also met us in it.
“But I heard about this programme few minutes ago and decided to come here with my children and I’m glad that we did. This food is very rich, I have not had anything similar since the lockdown was introduced. We just manage anything we see. I want to say thank you to NASFAT for this very kind gesture.”
This is our own way of touching lives and be of help to humanity, said NASFAT Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Akeem Yusuf. “Our policy thrust of this current administration is health, education, livelihood, and Dawa (HELD). The livelihood and Dawa (giving), is part of what we are doing here today, having dealt with the health part of it within the pandemic and equally still doing so.
“We want to ensure that everyone is happy. And also try to cushion the effect of people that have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and ameliorate the effect on them. The main purpose of this particular feeding programme is to felicitate with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Everybody knows that the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the whole world has affected so many things. The economy, social life, religious and political life has been lockdown. Our message to our members that are trading, jobless, widowed and aged that can’t work, and are now asked to stay at home is that they should believe that this is from Allah.”