The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has commended the International Centre for Islamic Culture and Education (ICICE), custodian of Al-Noor mosque, Abuja, for promoting Islamic culture and education in West Africa.
Bello made the commendation at the 10th Anniversary of ICICE and Al-Noor Mosque Dinner in honour of major donors of its ongoing expansion project to increase the capacity of the mosque from 1,000 to 12,000 worshippers, held on Saturday in Abuja.
Represented by Alhaji Mukhtar Galadima, the Director, Department of Development Control of FCTA, the minister said the centre had become a hub for scholars, researchers and students of Islamic studies, who come from far and wide to learn about the rich heritage and teachings of Islam.
Bello observed that in last decade, the centre has also successfully organised numerous conferences, workshops and seminars, aimed at promoting peace, tolerance and understanding among different religious communities.
“Over the last 10 years the Centre has made tremendous strides in promoting Islamic culture and education, not just in Nigeria, but also in the wider West African region.
“Your contributions have made it possible for the centre to achieve its mission, provide meals and medical outreach for those in need and we remember very well your generous contributions during our fight against COVID-19.
“Your contributions without doubt have provided the centre with the resources it needs to continue its important work, expand its programmes and to bring its services to even more people.”
The minister also commended the centre’s flagship school, the Al-Noor Academy, which had become one of the best educational institutions in the FCT, renowned for positively moulding the character and intellect of young Nigerians who pass through its walls.
“Through its efforts I am also informed, the centre has become a platform for inter-faith dialogue, where people of different beliefs can come together to learn from each other and find common ground.
“This plays well with the principles on which the FCT is founded; which is unity, tolerance and the indivisibility of our country and we are proud to be associated with the laudable achievements of the ICICE in this regard.
“It is on this premise that I once again congratulate Prof. Ibrahim Sulaiman, the Chairman Board of Trustees of the ICICE, other members of the board as well as its management and staff for their efforts in living up to the ideals of this institution.”
Earlier, the Founder of the mosque and the centre, Alhaji Aminu Baba-Kusa, while reflecting on the mandate, vision and mission of the ICICE, said: “I’m intrigued by the laudable achievements recorded so far, which are in line with my vision and aspirations.”
Represented by his son, Alhaji Mahmud Baba-Kusa, he also expressed delight on reflecting where the centre was 10 years ago, “where we are now and where we’re going.
“I can see the centre touching the life of the community through the provision of quality education, authentic Islamic knowledge and the propagation of knowledge on Islamic Banking and Finance, and related Capital Market products.
“Today we are celebrating the contributions made by the donors for Al-Noor Masjid Expansion project. The trajectory is to increase the capacity from 1,000 to 12,000 worshippers.
“This is indeed a remarkable milestone that should be supported and celebrated. It is a very joyful day for me and pray to Allah SWT for a successful completion of this project.”
On his part, Dr Mele Kyari, the Chairman, ICICE Advisory Committee and Group Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd., enjoined all Muslims to endeavour to secure a house for themselves in paradise by contributing towards the completion of the ongoing Al-Noor masjid expansion project.
Kyari assured that the committee would intensify efforts and continue to reach out to the Muslims to donate and support the project.
The Director-General of the centre, Dr Kabir Usman, also commended the major donors who earlier contributed about N2.2 billion to the ongoing project which was on course.
“Initially, we booked, planned and asked for donation of about N3.15 billion and at a go we generated about N2.2 billion and now we are on course but we know the prices of building materials and whatever has increased.
“So, we are targeting completing the project by the end of this year when we have to spend positively between N5 and N6 billion and that is the challenges that we have got and that is why we said people should contribute in cash and also in kind.
“Therefore, we need to celebrate that success and tell them what we have done with their money because transparency and accountability is a critical ingredient if we want to imbibe the culture of honesty and integrity, and that is what we have done today.”
The former Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Shamsudeen Usman, who stressed the importance of transparency and accountability, assured donors that their money was being utilised properly.
He explained that the project was being implemented with the best international standard, adding that when the project s completed “we will do a detail technical report”.
Sen. Mohammed Sanusi Dagash, former Minister of Works, also said “it is in the interest of all muslims to support our religion so that those who will come after us will meet a responsible society.
“We are here to ensure that the project succeed and impact positively on the lives of the Muslim community.”
Nigerian standard reports that the highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to those who contributed immensely to the growth and development of the masjid and the centre since inception.