By Rasheed Abubakar, Lagos
Guinness Nigeria Plc in partnership with Muslim News, Nigeria’s most authoritative Islamic newspaper has begun the distribution of its flagship non-alcoholic malt drink, Malta Guinness to Muslims observing Ramadan in different location in Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria.
The collaboration, the first of its kind, is part of Guinness’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aimed at cushioning the adverse economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown which has impacted adversely on economic and religious activities in the blessed month of Ramadan.
The distribution exercise supervised by the Deputy Editor, Hajia Bushrah Olagunju-Matemilola saw hundreds of fasting Muslims and non-Muslims throng the main distribution centre at Pent House, Surulere area of Lagos on Saturday, May 9.
Olagunju-Matemilola and her team moved to other Local Government Areas in the State, including Coker/Aguda, Orile, Mushin, Awoyokun, Onipanu, Somolu, Ojuelegba and Offin Ile in Ikorodu to put smiles in the faces of fasting Muslims with the free Malta Guinness.
They also distributed dozens of cases to different mosques including Alhaji Kilani Mosque, Ojuelegba; Alhaji Alebiosu Central Mosque, Palmgroove, and Alhaji Ayolo Central Mosque, Ijesha, among others.
The communication expert expressed gratitude to Guinness Nigeria for the collaborative initiative with a thousand cases of its premium non-alcoholic Malt drink, adding that it would fuel the greatness of Nigerian Muslims as its slogan goes, during and after the Ramadan fast.
Olagunju-Matemilola, in an interview with journalists said Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a period of intense religious and great charitable activities, especially to the indigent and vulnerable fasting Muslims.
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According to her, “This year’s Ramadan is coming at a period the world is battling to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a reliable Muslim newspaper, we felt the need to do something different apart from our primary responsibility, which is the provision of fact-based Islamic news.
“First, we must stay stronger together as Nigerians irrespective of religious persuasions and stand collectively by following all the health and precautionary guidelines to bring an end to this pandemic. Then, there is the need to provide palliatives for indigent persons, particularly fasting Muslims, more importantly, as Ramadan itself is a period of giving.
“Any time we publish activities of Islamic NGOs giving out money, food or other relief packages, we receive countless requests for support from indigent persons – Muslims and non-Muslims. So, most times we refer them to these Foundations since we are a News organisation and not an NGO.
“Luckily for us, the Guinness Nigeria Plc team reached out to us. They decided to give us 1000 cases of Malta Guinness for distribution to fasting Muslims. Interestingly, the company has embarked on this distribution of her non-alcoholic drink to support the palliative measures being undertaken by some states. We’re very grateful to them for this kind gesture. Alhamdulillah,” he added.
Malta Gift Excites Beneficiaries
Some of the beneficiaries of the Malta Guinness drinks in a chat with newsmen at various distribution points across local government areas expressed excitement about the kind gesture of Guinness Nigeria and its facilitator, Muslim News Nigeria.
Ishola Ishaq, one of the beneficiaries in Surulere, said, “I’d like to commend the gesture from Guinness Nigeria in collaboration with Muslim News Nigeria. I must say that it is timely and apt given the unusual times we find ourselves.
“Virtually everyone is in need during this Ramadan period observed under lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I appreciate them and pray that Allah will not deny them the reward,” he added.
A Christian lady in Offin Ile, Ikorodu, who simply identified herself as Iya Bobo was happy to benefit from the free drinks.
According to her, the gesture felt short of her expectations as a non- Muslim, saying she never the gesture would be extended to her.
She said, “I was just going out when I saw them sharing the drink. I asked a Muslim lady who said it’s free but not sure if I would be given since I am not a Muslim. I decided to wait to see if they will give me. Surprisingly, they didn’t ask me about my faith when I received the free malt. May God bless them. This is the best way to go”.
Another beneficiary, Fausiyah Taofeeq said the gesture was commendable, especially at this point in time where everyone has been impacted by the situation facing the world.
“Feeding a fasting Muslim, either with food or drink, also attracts reward from Allah. I pray for the progress of both Muslim News and Guinness Nigeria. May Allah bless them,” she added.
According to Mr AbdurRazaq Iyiola, “I thank Allah for being alive to witness this holy month of Ramadan. I also appreciate the kind gesture of Guinness Nigeria and Muslim News. They have shown us love in this holy month of Ramadan. My prayer is that Allah will continues to make them wax stronger and be with them.
“I expect more of this in the coming Ramadan and even beyond. May Allah assist all Muslims in the world and save us from the current pandemic ravaging the globe,” he noted.
On his part, Mr Mustafa Omodamisi expressed his heartfelt appreciation to Guinness Nigeria Plc and Muslim News for the Ramadan package, while decrying the dearth of Muslim-owned news media in Nigeria