Ilorin Ultra-Modern Central Mosque: A Sight to Behold
For any visitor to the ancient city of Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, the new ultra-modern Juma'at Central Mosque is a centre to behold.
The 20, 000 capacity mosque no doubt, has added to the list of tourists attraction centres in the country.
The mosque which has been rightly christened "The pride of Ilorin", from all indications – architectural design, gates designation and interior decor, is a replica of the second grand mosque in Medinah, Saudi Arabia (the beautiful mosque of the holy prophet Muhammed).
Little wonder when the Chairman of the Central Mosque working committee, and former Secretary to the state government and Dan-Madami of Ilorin, Alh. Shehu AbdulGafar described the remodeled mosque as an international monument.
And just like the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medinah, the six gates leading to the Ilorin Juma'at central mosque have been named after the prominent leaders of the town highly revered for their unmatched exploits in the field of Islamic studies.
Beside its tourism potentials as well as a place of worship, the new mosque has also brought about the cleanliness of the hitherto dirty Oja-Oba environment. The vicinity has been cordoned off with the mosque's security officials maintaining a 24-hour surveillance of the area. An environmental firm of international repute has also been engaged to ensure the cleanliness of the mosque and its environs at all times.
The Mosque was commissioned by Vice President Namadi Sambo on Friday, while former President Shehu Shagari chaired the occasion.
The commissioning ceremony took place at the palace of the Emir of Ilorin and president of Ilorin Juma'at Central Mosque, Alh. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, while the Sultan of Sokoto and Sarkin Musulumi, Alh. Sa'ad Abubakar III led other Muslims across the globe to the ancient city of Ilorin for the programme.
The chairman, Central Working Committee of the central mosque, Alh. Shehu AbdulGafar had said adequate security measures were put in place to ensure the security of the guests during their stay in Ilorin.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal led other members of the House to the event while the immediate past governor of Kwara state, Senator Bukola Saraki led his colleagues from the Senate to the ceremony.
Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed who is the Chief Host led other state governors to the event.
According to the chairman the sum of N1.95 billion was expended on the expansion, re-modeling and general rehabilitation of the mosque which was first commissioned in 1981.
He said rehabilitation of the 20, 000 capacity mosque was done within a period of six months, adding that, "specialists from over 14 countries worked on different segments of the mosque.
AbdulGafar added that, all markets around the mosque had remained closed on the orders of the Eir of Ilorin, Alh. Ibrahin Sulu-Gambari to allow for the successful commissioning of the mosque.
He recalled that, "On the strong support of distinguished senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the central working committee organised a N1.5 billion fund raising on June 9, 2009, under the chairmanship of Alh. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, Talban Minna and Chief Servant of Niger state. Important dignitaries from all over the country attended the fund launching ceremony and a total sum of N120.55 million was received and pledges amounting to N804.76 million were also made on that day."
The first Ilorin Central Mosque was found in 1820. This was followed in 1835 when another central mosque was built at Idi-Ape during the reign of AbdulSalam, the first Emir of Ilorin.
However, more than a century later, the central mosque could no longer cope with the phenomenal growth in the population of the Muslim Ummah of the city.
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