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NAZAS… spreading socio-economic benefits of Zakat among Nigerians

By Sulaiman Salau
27 September 2019   |   4:22 am
In the absence of a national institutional framework to drive the realisation of the socio-economic benefits of Zakat as the third fundamental pillar of Islam...

NASFAT Chief Missioner, Sheikh Maruf AbdulAzeez Onike (right) presenting a cheque Jimoh Jubril (middle) with support of NAZAS Director, Dr. Daud Oniyide at the disbursement ceremony in Lagos

In the absence of a national institutional framework to drive the realisation of the socio-economic benefits of Zakat as the third fundamental pillar of Islam, some notable Muslim organisations have risen up to fill the void. One of such platforms is the NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS), an humanitarian outfit which recently disbursed cash and working tools valued at 20 million Naira among 250 beneficiaries.

The disbursement ceremony held at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Ikeja, Lagos began with the NAZAS Annual General meeting headed by the agency’s Chairman Board of Director, Mr. Niyi Yusuf.  The purpose was to give stewardship of their activities in the past years. Yusuf harps on the supports received by the agency through Zakat from its members, and other donations received from well-meaning Nigerians over the last one year, and how they were expended.

He seized the occasion to celebrate some of the success stories recorded by the agency over the last one year. Yusuf said NAZAS started five years ago, and has since mobilised more than N174 million from which over 676 Nigerians had benefited through both Ramadan and Muharram (first month of the Islamic year) public disbursements and other routine and emergency outings.

“This was made possible through regular payment of Zakat and Sadaqat by our donors. The clamour for us to up our game by moving from regular below N40 million marks in fund receipts was achieved this year as we finally crossed the N40 million lines in 2018 and we have already crossed the N55 million thresholds in the on-going 2019 and hoping to cross the N60 million marks.

“Health is wealth. I am pleased to report that the board approved in 2018 that we institute a health insurance package for Imams and Missioners (both NASFAT and non-NASFAT) to promote the health and well-being of the Imams and their immediate families.

“This year, we have enrolled the first set of 12 Imams and Missioners with the Lagos State Health Management Authority. Working with the Lagos State League of Imams and Alfas, and with your financial support, we hope to enroll more Imams and Missioners in the years ahead.”

After the AGM came the moment the beneficiaries had all been awaiting. Ms Mariam Amidu, alongside 37 others, shared the N1.88 million set aside for education support and scholarship for the poor and needy.

Speaking with journalists, Mariam, daughter of a widow, showered praises on NAZAS. Overwhelmed with joy, she said, “I can’t wait to share this testimony with my mother. I am 22 years old and a student of University of Lagos. I didn’t grow up to know my father, and paying school fees has always been a problem for me and my siblings. With this scholarship, I can now pay more attention to my studies and achieve my dreams of being an accountant. May Allah (SWT) continue to bless all those who have sacrificed their hard earned money for people like me to go to school. I am more than grateful to NAZAS.”

Mr. Jubril Jimoh, with 14 others with deteriorating health condition, amidst tears, shared N4.862 million among themselves to take care of their health. And six others got N510, 000 to repay their debts.

Jubril couldn’t fight back his tears as he said, “It is being over four years I have been searching for help on my health issue after I exhausted all I had on me managing the ailment. I was diagnosed with acute diabetics, and have initially spent over N420, 000 managing it, before I was slammed with another N400,000 bill.

“Luck finally shined on me through a friend’s wife who came to check on me in the hospital and suggested I should reach out to NASFAT. I did, and surprisingly, they have come to my aid today. I am so grateful to them and to Allah the most benevolent. I am more than happy.”

The health insurance scheme covered 12 NAZAS Imams and Missionaries, alongside one of their wives and any four of their children altogether valued at N400, 000 per year.
A total of 148 petty traders, mostly physically challenged, got empowered with money, work tools such as sewing machines, refrigerators and others, altogether worth N14.2 million; in a bid to alleviate them from poverty.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Silifat Daramola, who broke down in tears after receiving a deep freezer and a cash gift to support her trade said, “I didn’t entirely believe when I got informed that I would be a part of those benefiting from Zakat today. This is because; I have always ended up being disappointed by some other groups whom I had earlier approached for help. They would call for empowerment, but at the end of the day, nothing would come out of it.

“But today, NAZAS has put smile on my lip. They didn’t only give me deep freezer but a huge sum of money. May Allah (SWT) continue to bless everyone in the agency.”

In his brief remark, NAZAS Chairman, Niyi Yusuf said, “Today is the second public disbursement of the agency in 2019, to commemorate the new Islamic year. And today’s disbursement is to over 250 persons.

“So, today is the symbolic disbursement of N20 million to over 250 beneficiaries, reflecting on the donations we have received from different donors during Ramadan period and we hope that this would help bring succour to a number of Nigerians.”

On how to apply as a beneficiary, Yusuf said, “we advise people to come and collect form in our office, or download it online and fill it, but they would still have to come physically submit the forms in our office. Today, for instance, the board has approved another N12.8 million to be disbursed in November to another set of beneficiaries, whose claims have been considered genuine by the board.”