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24 benefit from N1.8m zakat in Kwara

TWENTY-FOUR people have benefited from N1.89 million worth of zakat collected in Kwara State.

Speaking during presentation of the money to beneficiaries in Ilorin last weekend, the Executive Director, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Prince Sulayman Olagunju, projected that the amount would increase to N5 million next year.

Olagunju said that zakat collection in the state had witnessed improvement in two years and gave a breakdown of the disbursement of the money to include 51.3 per cent for economic empowerment, 6.3 per cent for educational   support and 15.9 per cent for medical support.

Represented by the Operations Manager of the Foundation, Ustaz Maaruf Ahmed, Prince Olagunju said the organisation was established in 2000 and commenced zakat collection and distribution in 2005.

“In these past years, zakat distribution to beneficiaries had always taken place in Lagos State. We thank Allah Who made it possible for our quest for the decentralisation of zakat distribution to see the light of day this year. We hope to sustain this positive development in subsequent years.

“We are very pleased to mention that this state has improved its zakat collection tremendously and this laudable effort has impacted positively on the state in terms of increase in the number of beneficiaries in the last two editions.

“The task of collecting and distributing zakat is very herculean. Some challenges we had to contend with include but not limited to unwillingness of zakat-able Muslims to pay the actual zakat; procrastination on payment of zakat and logistic/administrative hiccups.

“In spite of the aforementioned, we are fully committed and dedicated to this noble cause of reviving this neglected pillar of Islam. Our urge to reposition zakat as a panacea to the economic recession and poverty-ridden Ummah is also the force compelling us to lift the underprivileged from grass to grace; put smiles on the faces of those not well-off and above all, build up the socio-economic capacity of members of this Ummah,” he said.