Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has pulled down the old Agbaji central mosque to commence full reconstruction of the edifice. The commencement of the project is coming on the heels of completion of the demolition works on the old mosque by the contractor handling it. Construction of the new mosque which is expected to gulp N375million will start today, it was gathered last night, and will be solely financed by Saraki with a completion period of eight months. The edifice, described as one of the best in Africa upon completion, will add to the rich Islamic heritage and project Ilorin as an Islamic centre of excellence and architectural masterpiece after the Ilorin Central Mosque whose renovation was facilitated by Saraki. It will conveniently accommodate 800 worshipers in its interior while the exterior will contain 500 others during prayer. The facility which is to be extended heavily to the right of the old Agbaji Central Mosque will have all the trappings of a modern Islamic worship centre. Speaking on the project, last night, the Director-General of the ABS Constituency Office, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi, appreciated the Senate President for his financial commitment without seeking financial assistance from individuals or private organisations for the construction of the mosque. He said that the development further demonstrate the love and contribution of Saraki to the growth and development of Islam in Ilorin emirate and the world at large. "I appreciate Almighty Allah for sparing our lives to witness the commencement of the construction of the Agbaji Ultra Modern Central mosque. "The mosque when completed considering the outlook of the architectural design will be one of the best in Africa", he added. In the same vein, the Chief Imam of Agbaji, Sheikh Basheer Aminullahi Tantolohun Ahmad, while speaking with our reporter, last night confirmed that reconstruction of the mosque will commence today (Monday), adding that sons and daughters of the community are overjoyed with the project while also applauding Saraki for fulfilling his promise. He attributed the initial delay to surveyor's work noting that all is now set for its takeoff. In an earlier interview, the Imam said the community had made two futile attempts to renovate the mosque. "The first person to erect the mosque was Alfa Agba, Shehu Musa. He lived during the time of Shehu Alimi and together they laid the foundation stone for the mosque. Then in its mud structure, it was then the best mosques in the whole of Ilorin. "However when it was to undergo its second renovation to its present one-storey design, it was during our time, during the Imamship of Imam Badawi in the 60's. “It was during the time of the late Imam Akilu that the plan to build a modern mosque was hatched. But despite all our efforts, Allah did not decree it before now that he used Bukola Saraki to intervene. "It was his father, Olusola Saraki's plan to build the mosque then but he didn't realise it before he died. "The community refused the Senator this service to God as governor of the state because of the political arguments it will generate. "When he was the governor, we did not want him to do it for people not to be insinuating that he used state's fund to finance the project. "The Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, is very pleased about this project because he once spent about 2 years as a resident of Agbaji community. "Saraki is really a worthy son and this is a story that will never be forgotten, just like that of the Ilorin Central Mosque", he had submitted.