The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his government's commitment and determination to improving the standard of living of Ghanaian Muslims, especially those living in the Zongo communities across the country.
At a Muslim congregational prayer to mark the end of the 30-day fasting-- Eid-ul-Fitr--at the Independence Square in Accra last Friday, President Akufo-Addo said the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund--a fund which government intends to use to address the development imbalances that have characterized underprivileged communities, the Zongo communities, over the years-- was a clear intent of government's commitment to seeking the welfare of Muslims in the country.
During Last year's Eid-ul-Fitr, President Akufo-Addo re-echoed his government's campaign promise to establish the Zongo Development Fund.
The President said, his Government took the view that the manner in which development had proceeded so far, had not been able to address the fundamental problems of development that confronted the people of the Zongo communities, hence the need for a paradigm shift in the development of the Zongo communities--the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund.
He, therefore, announced to the Muslim congregation that he had on Monday, June 11, 2018, inaugurated the Board of the Zongo Development Fund, with the distinguished Muslim Chief of Nima, Alhaji Mohammed Farl, alias Nii Futa, as its Chairman while the Minister for Zongo and Inner-City Development, Hon. Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Siddique, MP for Madina, had been busy about his mission.
He also justified the need for Government to make that special intervention in the inner cities and Zongo communities--the creation of the development fund--which, he said, had suffered from the manner in which development of the underprivileged communities had been organized over the years by successive governments.
The President disclosed that development projects had started in many Zongo communities around the country, citing Asawase in Kumasi, for example, where the process of desilting the Pelele River that runs through the community had started, adding that major drains were also being built in the community to stop the perennial flooding that occurred to cut the area off from the rest of Kumasi during the rainy season.
He said aside the implementation of physical projects; Government intended to roll out a comprehensive programme that would develop the talents of young men and women in the Zongo communities.
President Akufo-Addo, who made reference to several Muslim footballing icons, pledged Government's determination to deliberately establish the conditions that would allow young talented Zongo youth to engage and develop their talents.
To this end, he said, the Zongo Development Minister was building Astro Turfs in Zongo communities to create a conducive environment for the training and development of sporting talents, adding that the one being constructed in Madina in Accra, should be a good model.
More importantly, he added, his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, continued to engage with Muslim communities across the country that would constantly keep Government abreast of the challenges of Muslim communities.
"He just completed his annual Ramadan tour, that brought him to many of the mosques across all ten regions of Ghana. For the second year running, he has held an Iftar (fast breaking event) at the Jubilee House with Muslims of all persuasions. I want to assure you that this is a tradition we intend to keep so long as, by the grace of God, we remain in the Jubilee House," President Akufo-Addo indicated.
On education, the President urged Muslims to heed to the words of the Prophet Mohammed, who said "knowledge is the lost property of a Muslim; let him seek it wherever he may find it," and "to take advantage of the free Senior High School programme to ensure the education of their children, especially the Muslim girl."
This, he said, would accelerate the country's development agenda with the contribution of educated Muslim elites, while they still performed their spiritual obligations, and also address the imbalance in the education of the Muslim youth, especially the girl child
President Akufo-Addo disclosed that Government had also engaged some three thousand Arabic instructors to teach Arabic studies in schools.
The President paid glooming tribute to the leadership of the learned National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, for his leadership and guidance of the Muslim Ummah in Ghana.
"Sheikh, it is to your credit that the Muslim Ummah continues to live in harmony with one another. We pray for Allah's continuous blessing for you. If Islam is to live up to its accolade as a religion of peace, it behooves on all Muslims to embrace one another, irrespective of doctrinal differences," he added.
In an address, Sheikh Dr Sharubutu admonished Muslims to lead the virtues of nobility and humanity which had been made abundantly clear in the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet Mahammed S.A.W.
He urged them to eschew negative tendencies and rejoice in the spiritual success which they had attained at the end of the 30 days of fasting.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)