Facelift for Muslims of South West, as MUSWEN launches endowment fund in Lagos

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From Left: Dr. Lateef Tayo Lawal, representative of Alhaji Sulaiman Adebola Adegunwa, Chairman, Rite Foods Industry Limited, chairman of occasion, H.E. Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and Chief Host, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Babafemi Hamzat, and President, MUSWEN, during MUSWEN's Endowment Fund Launch, held at the Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday September 25, 2022.

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*Sultan urges Nigerians to continue to unite against evils

By BASHIR ADEFAKA

A consensus was reached in Lagos on Sunday that Muslims of South West would now rise up to doing things differently so as to begin to get different results.

That was what statements by several Muslim elite including Mr Wale Babalakin (SAN), Alhaji Tajudeen Fola Adeola, Alhaji Sulaiman Adebola Adegunwa, Alhaji Bade Adeshina, Alhaji Yusuf Ali (SAN) and among several other captains of industry from the faith community, hosted by Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, as chief host were interpreted to mean.

They made the comments at the prestigious Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos, where the Muslim Ummah of South West (MUSWEN) launched an endowment fund, which cost it summed up to N10 billion, to move members of the faith especially women and youths in their numbers out of poverty by the year 2030.

In his address, Chairman of Rite Foods Industry Limited, Alhaji Sulaiman Adebola Adegunwa, who was chairman of the occasion, described the Endowment Fund Launch as a great experience in the history of MUSWEN and led the way for positive contribution and development.

“This is a great day in the history of MUSWEN. Our collective presence here today is a great indication of our readiness to project Islam loftily in our region and to serve as competent agents of change for Yoruba Muslim Ummah from the quagmire of abject poverty that has been threatening their lives for a long time. This therefore informed my excitement at seeing you, great Stakeholders of our Great Organisation, MUSWEN at this new beginning of a new commitment,” Adegunwa said.

Adegunwa, who was represented by Dr Lateef Tayo Lawal, continued, “I believe that with our support, MUSWEN could strengthen Muslims of the South West and bequeath enduring legacy to the future generation such that our children can compete favourably with their peers anywhere in the world.

“In order to address its many challenges, MUSWEN has, through purposeful researches, identified programmes and projects whose implementation would cost N10 Billion. I have also been informed that MUSWEN will put in place a Trust Deed and appoint Trustees for the management of the Fund. Let us therefore support this worthy cause with our generous donation as I assure you of a judicious use of your donations for the intended projects,” the Nigerian industrialist and Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR), said.

Also speaking, lawyer and business giant, Mr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), observed that Nigeria’s problem stems from standpoint of the fact that it has increased number of religious people by profession and appearances but are, undesirably, living ungodly lives.

Noting that this does not exclude the Muslim Ummah of South West, he wanted MUSWEN to take the bull by the horns in ensuring that not only poverty area of challenges bedeviling the Ummah but also seeing to holistic and we’ll coordinated programmes that will heal the faith community of dishonesty, lack of purposefulness and, above all, extreme views and practices that make the religion lose members in the land.

Babalakin expressed dismay that many successful Nigerians, who are Muslims, do not help or play role in advancing the anti-poverty course for the good of Muslims because they lack basic understanding of Islam. According to him, he was saved from that category of Muslim elite because he had been groomed the knowledge of Islam right from home and even in his Catholic primary school and Government College days in Oyo State.

Coming from that loftily grounded Muslim background, having been playing roles to Islam, he vowed his support for the MUSWEN Endowment Fund starting from N320 million “now”.

Babalakin’s donation announcement came at the prompt of Alhaji Fola Adeola, former Chairman GT Bank, who himself led the way with N100 million followed by Alhaji Yusuf Ali’s N10 million, Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde’s land donation believed will have to be converted to money because MUSWEN already has its dreamed land direct opposite of University of Ibadan’s second gate, and several other donations including that of Retired Inspector General of Police Musliu Smith, banking expert Alhaji Adeshina.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, called on citizens not to discriminate against any Nigerian because of religion, stating that his administration will continue to provide and sustain a conducive environment for religious tolerance and harmony which the state and indeed the South West region is well known for.

Represented by Dr Kadiri Hamzat, who also attended in his own capacity as a Muslim and Deputy Governor, Sanwo-Olu commended the efforts of all religious leaders in ensuring that the people continue to live in peace despite religious differences.

“As we are gearing toward the general elections that will usher us to new leadership in 2023, it is our joint responsibility to ensure that we encourage, enlighten and educate members of our families, friends, women and the youths to eschew violence and other negative tendencies and pursue the path of peace now and at all times because meaningful development can only take place in a peaceful environment.

“Muslim-Muslim ticket we should not discriminate against any Nigerians because of religion, what about honour, integrity knowledge and competence.

However, he said that the international resource centre project is a laudable one that would be of huge benefit to all the members of the community.

He commended the leadership of MUSWEN for their insight, generosity of spirit and for allowing the teachings of peace and brotherliness to dictate their thoughts and actions.

“The all-encompassing infrastructure that trains, educates and provides opportunities for Muslim youths is well commendable. This project when completed will be a unifying centre that will encourage a healthy sharing of ideas and development of mutual respect for the community and hopefully will create access to resources – financially and education.

“This is very relevant in view of the intolerance that has been observed in our country in recent times. Example of someone who has rejected a job by saying, Insha Allah.

“The government appreciates the cooperation it has always enjoyed from all the different religious organizations and their timely intervention in proffering apt solutions to issues,” he said.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, who was chief host in his remarks, lauded the MUSWEN’s initiative while calling on Nigerians to be united and not to allow anybody come in between them, especially during the ongoing electioneering campaign period.

Delivering his lecture, the guest speaker and Chief Missioner, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society Worldwide, Sheikh AbdulRahman Ahmad, guided the would-be donors to support the MUSWEN’s Endowment Fund as it provides them the opportunity of being granted a spiritual credit account that does not liquidate.

Earlier in his welcome address, Alhaji Rasak Oladejo, MUSWEN President and Deputy President General (South) NSCIA, said the resources with MUSWEN at present cannot finance its big programmes and project which include; education and empowerment of Muslim women and youths to reduce unemployment and poverty, development of Entrepreneurship Centre for skills acquisition, the establishment of a scholarship fund for human capital development and support for healthcare needs of the Ummah to mention the most important.

The project according to him is estimated at N10 billion.

“This is the amount we want to raise and invest and whose returns we plan to use to implement the project and programme,” he said.

The DEFENDER reports that the Endowment Fund Launch signposts a mission assured for moving South West Muslims out of poverty by 2030, a journey MUSWEN kickstarted with the Lagos event of Sunday September 25, 2022.


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