By Bukar Bolori
FBNQuest Trustees, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings in partnership with the Metropolitan Law Firm has launched an endowment fund under the Islamic Banking guidelines to cater to the education of indigent Nigerians for basic to tertiary institutions.
The fund, called Waqf, is an instrument of Islamic Estate Planning largely designed for charitable and philanthropic activities to solve social problems.
Managing Partner, The Metropolitan Firm, Ummahani Amim, said N60 million seed funding has been committed to the fund and is targeted at the less privileged children, particularly orphans in the northeast by providing scholarships and complementing efforts aimed at dousing the burgeoning number of out-of-school children in the country.
She made this known at the 5th Annual Islamic Estate Planning and Clinic and the official launch of the Metropolitan Waqf fund on Sunday in Abuja. Amin said the philanthropic activity will kick off in the Northeast because it is the region of the country that is most ravaged by insurgency and wanton killings which have left many destitute.
She added that the fund is focusing on education because it is a major social problem in the country that must be addressed for the country to attain desired development.
“We are targeting Northeast right now when it expands, it would be for everyone that meets the criteria. We will start with scholarships, but in the long run, we intend to have schools, especially for that with the best quality education and teachers to nurture and train the children till tertiary level, and we intend to give scholarships to either study in or out of the country at the tertiary level,” she said.
While noting that Waqf is an aspect of Islamic social financing targeted at solving a social problem, she said the fund is open for donations from individuals, and institutions.
She equally noted that the Waqf is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the Metropolitan Law.
Abimbola Ajinibi, Senior Vice President, FBNQuest informed that the non-Muslims can benefit from the endowment fund. He said the role of FBNQuest would be to ensure that the interest of the beneficiaries is protected.
“Waqf is called Islamic trust. It simply means that you have three parties, a set law, trustees, and the beneficiaries. Essentially, the trustees hold assets for the benefit of the named beneficiary. Today, we are launching Metropolitan Waqf which means that we are setting up a trust for the benefit of certain people. So we (FBN Quest) are going to act as delegate trustees to ensure that the interest of the beneficiaries is protected,” he said.
In the same vein, the Senator-Elect of FCT under the Labour Party and the member of the Board for the Metropolitan Waqf Fund, Ireti Kingibe, emphasized that the target is to help out-of-school children in the country, especially from the north.
Kingibe also used the opportunity to assure that she will use her office when she assumes office to ameliorate the plight of the marginalized groups in the FCT, especially the youth, women, and children.Also in her presentation, Mutiat Olatunji, Private Trust Specialist, while giving an overview of the Islamic Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer defined estate planning as a structure set up during a person’s lifetime to cater to o the needs of both immediate and extended family, charitable and philanthropic activities She also explained Waqf is a veritable tool for inheritance planning, and also be used to cater to generational wealth transfer, medical needs, and charitable activities among others.