Muslims asked to donate zakat to IDPs in Northeast

By Michael Olugbode

Muslims in Nigeria have been called upon to donate their zakat, an obligatory Muslim donation to the poor and needy to the more than one million internally displaced persons in the northeast.

Speaking in Maiduguri during the donation of food and non-food items valued at N9 million to internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Borno and Yobe states, the Director of International Centre for Islamic Culture and Education (ICICE)- Annuur Mosque Abuja, Mallam Mele Kyari and President of One Ummah Islamic Organisation also based in Abuja, Mallam Abubakar Sadiq Muhammad said if Muslims all over the country donate part of their zakat to the people of the Northeast who are displaced from their homes,they will effect positive change on their lives.

Muhammad, who lamented that the situation at the IDPs camps which is populated with more than 60 percent children that have lost their parents to the Boko Haram crisis calls for urgent attention of all well meaning Nigerians.

He said, "if the rest of us want to live to enjoy ourselves in the country, the federal government and international donor agencies should not be left alone to give aid to the distressed people of the Northeast".

He said: "One of the things we are encouraging is to call on the entire nation especially the Muslim Ummah which should know that part of the pillars of our religion is giving the zakat.

"if we can take out of this to help these people it will go a very long way in reducing their hardships"; he said.

He lamented that "a lot of Muslims do not give out their zakat today or they do give their zakat but not in the right way. If they can give their zakat to the internally displaced persons here, it will go a long way in ameliorating some of the sufferings we are seeing in these camps here."

On his part Mallam Mele Kyari said that the visits to many registered and unregistered camps in both Borno and Yobe states has opened their eyes to the pathetic situation in the region which was brought about by the Boko Haram crisis and the need for the entire country to urgently do something about it.

He said 'we have many children who have lost their parents to this crisis and if we do not do something urgently to solve this crisis these children may have a worse crisis than Boko Haram insurgency in years to come."

He described the Boko Haram crisis as going beyond the Northeast but it is a National and West African sub regional crisis which if not handled well may take a dangerous dimension in not too distant future.