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Maintenance Challenge As Ilorin Central Mosque Becomes Tourist Attraction Centre

As the multi-million naira Ilorin Central Juma’at Mosque is fast becoming a tourists’ attraction centre, the issue of adequate maintenance of the edifice adjudged to be the best in Nigeria and Africa has become a source of concern.

On two different fora in the last two weeks, the management of the mosque had cried out over the inadequate availability of resources to maintain the structure.

LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that

the mosque located at Oja- Oba, directly opposite the Emir’s palace,  has become a new haven of tourists attraction, with visitors coming from Spain, United States of America, Saudi Arabia,  Egypt, and Belgium, amongst others to Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara State to catch a glimpse of the edifice.

Speaking during the annual meeting of trustees and stakeholders of Ilorin Central Juma’at Mosque on Friday,  the chairman of the board of trustees of the mosque, Hon. Justice Salihu Alfa Belgore, decried the inadequate financial support for the maintenance of the structure.

“I need not over flog the fact that the Ilorin Central Juma’at Mosque undoubtedly remains the best of its kind in Africa South of the Sahara.

Sustaining this standard without allowing it to suffer degradation in any form lies in the maintenance. We still relied heavily on financial support from individuals and corporate bodies,”Belgore stated.

The former Chief Justice of Nigeria added:” Let us have it at the back of our minds that the mosque is not on any subvention from any government apart from the support enjoyed from the five local government areas that constitute the Ilorin Emirate. Aside this, we have always relied on the goodwill and generous donations from individuals and groups for the maintenance and these have been put to judicious use as the mosque is being accorded the best attention within the limit of resources at the disposal of the management.

“I therefore strongly appeal to everyone present today ( Friday)  to listen attentively to enable you make positive contributions,donate generously towards the maintenance, improvement and further development of this World class edifice “.

In his presentation of the progress report and financial statement, the secretary of the board of trustees and chairman of the central working committee of the mosque, Alh Shehu AbdulGafar, said the committee got improved financial support compared to the previous years.

He, however, said the management need N150m for the maintenance and provision of some facilities at the mosque and the old central mosque at Idi- Ape, Ilorin.

“It is pleasing to note that the majority of the pledges made were redeemed and we also acknowledge the contributions of new donors, all that tally N79, 782, 181.66k, as against the 2021/2022 donations of N62,166,869.00,” he stated.

AbdulGafar, a former secretary to Kwara State Government,  appealed to well-to-do Muslims to donate generously towards the sustainable maintainance of the mosque.

He listed the general maintenance of the mosque, steady power and  water supply  as some of the challenges facing the mosque.

“I wish  to end this report with this reminder for all of us that the Ilorin Central Jummat Mosque has no investment of its own and that only a few individuals among our blessed brethren have taken it upon themselves to see to its maintenance thus far.

“I have always reiterated that this mode of sourcing funds is not likely to stand the test of time. So, in order to avert a repeat of the mistakes of the past, the time is now to yield to the call for sustainable investment for the mosque.

“As we continue to bask in the euphoria of having yet another iconic edifice as our mosque in Ilorin, we should as a Ummah, be prepared to surmount the challenges posed by its continued sustenance vis-a-vis, it’s sorry past that seems to have been lost on us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the  Emir of Ilorin, Alh Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari has commissioned the  administrative building of the ultra-modern Ilorin Central  Jumma’at Mosque.

The construction of the building which will serve as the secretariat of the mosque gulped N43m.

Speaking after cutting the tape to commission the building constructed through direct labour to reduce cost, Sulu-Gambari called for judicious utilization of the facility.

He thanked members of the Central Management Committee of the Mosque for their initiative   and  for ensuring proper maintenance of the Mosque.

In his remarks, the chairman of Central Management  Committee of the Mosque, Alh Shehu AbdulGafar who was flanked by the Imam Imale of Ilorin, Alh Abdullahi AbdulHamid and Architect Jamiu Faworaja, said that the administrative block has many units , including offices of the executive secretary, and administrative staff, as well as a befitting conference room.

He disclosed that the secretariat which was built through direct labour cost N43M as against the estimated initial contractual sum of N57m.

AbdulGafar expressed delight that the construction of the secretariat eeventually brought the Mosque complex master – plan to fulfillment and outright completion.

He called on wealthy indigines of Ilorin to give  his committee  financial support towards the maintenance of the Mosque adjudged to be the best in Nigeria and Africa.

He said the beauty and aesthetics of the mosque have  been  attracting  visitors from United States of America, Spain, Saudi Arabia,  Egypt, and Belgium, amongst others to Ilorin.

Source: Leadership