By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has underscored the significance of mosque as a centre for the integration and advance of Islam and Muslim community in the country.
Pantami made the assertion at the Public Presentation of Progress Report and Milestones on Al-Noor Mosque Expansion Project, held at the International Centre for Islamic Culture and Education (ICICE), on Saturday in Abuja.
He said that historically, mosque had played a significant role in the development of Islamic Culture and Education, adding that the first University to be established in the world started from a mosque.
“The second University to be established globally also originated from a mosque. Similarly, the first University and first Degree Awarding institution in the world was the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco.
“It was followed by the University of Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, both of them originated from a mosque.
“This is to show us that mosque is not only where we converge and pray five daily prayers, but a mosque is supposed to be a centre of learning, centre for child upbringing, uniting Muslims and a centre for guidance and counseling.
“Also, a mosque is a place where Muslims are taught good moral behavior and it is a place for economic development and so on.”
Pantami explained that the International Centre for Islamic Culture and Education, Abuja, is among the most effective Islamic centres in the country.
“The series of activities at the centre includes praying five times daily, conducting marriage activities, taking care of orphans, widows and vulnerable groups.
“ICICE also engages in marriage reconciliation, providing support to the poor and needy, particularly Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and teaching our children in nursery, secondary schools and adult education.
“So, by implications, you can consider this centre to be an informal university, particularly if you look at the activities taking place here and the quality of teaching and other activities.
“It is because of this we feel it is necessary for us to converge here once again to update our brothers and sisters about the journey so far.”
Earlier, the Director-General of ICICE, Dr Kabir Kabo, explained that the project is between 30 to 40 per cent completed, adding that by the time the female Wing construction begins after the month of Ramadan, it would accelerate the project.
“Basically, what we have generated is almost about N2 billion and what has been expanded is about N800 million. We are lucky that the Chief Executive Officer of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, has promised to provide all the cement.
“That has helped to cut cost. But very soon, with the kind of work that is going to take place in the female Wing, we could be asking for more disbursement of funds in the region of about N500 million.
“The initial estimate of the project is N3.15 billion and with other components that have been taken into account like the excavator, solar, lift, lightening and other things which will cost additional N800 million.
“So, all together even though the actual contract fee is N3.15 billion for the construction work. Then a separate budget is needed within the region of about N600 to N800 million in order to accomplish the excesses we want to see.”
Also, the Group Managing Director, NNPC and Chairman, ICICE Advisory Committee, Dr Mele Kyari, who assured that the project would be delivered by next Ramadan, said the project is Al-Noor Mosque’s contribution to nation building and national development.
“We have a very effective and efficient contractor, we are proud that this work is going on very well. Here we will create very learned, moderate and informed Muslims so that they can make contribution to the society.
“This is to ensure that our community is not seen as an exclusion of the whole country and this is a community that will add value to all of us so that we can all leave peacefully in this country to meet our own individual and collective aspirations as citizens of Nigeria.
“The whole project here is to ensure that inclusion is created, young people who constitute over 70 per cent of the nation’s population are catered for. They need to be help so that they can learn and interact with community and appreciate others who are not part of the community.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the foundation-laying and appeal fund for the project was inaugurated on Saturday, April 24, 2021, with an estimated cost of N4 billion and was awarded to a contractor at the cost of N3.15 billion. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)