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Lagos Bans Sponsorship Of Pilgrimages To Mecca, Jerusalem

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Lagos State Government says it has finally banned state sponsorship of Muslims and Christians pilgrims who embark on pilgrimages to Mecca in Saudi Arabia or Jerusalem in Israel.

The government said it is the most irresponsible way to spend tax payers’ money.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Abdulateef Abdulhakeem, who disclosed this when members of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Home Affairs paid a visit to the ministry in furtherance of their oversight function, said the government decided to ban the sponsorship because it amounted to injustice for certain individuals to continue to benefits from the government to the detriment of other numerous members of the society.

“Part of our mandate is the supervision of the Pilgrims Welfare Board. Recently the governor and the state executive council approved a policy for the state to stop sponsorship of pilgrimages and that is line with the policy thrust of the government and what the state House of Assembly also speaks to.

“In this day and time when we are talking about paucity of funds coupled with inhibiting challenges that the government has to take care of. We can no-longer afford to spend the sum of one million on one single individual to go on pilgrimage when the scripture did not compel anyone to do so.

“So it is most irresponsible way of spending tax payer’s money. That is why the government has taken a solid decision that we will be accountable and responsible for every kobo that the tax payers pay to the government. It is an injustice for the government to be spending millions on group of people when millions of Lagosians are yearning for government’s attention,” he said.

The commissioner added that the government has begun the process of gathering data of religious organizations and their locations in the state to be able to set standards, give orientation and provide security for them.

According to him, there is a symbiotic relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government in the state, while thanking the assembly for the quick passage of the 2016 Budget.

The Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Home Affairs, Hon. Olayiwola Olawale said the decision was laudable, saying the Assembly was ready to back the decision with the necessary legislation.

He stated that the visit of the committee to the ministry was homecoming, adding that the commissioner was a man of integrity and that the committee would work hand-in-hand with the ministry.

“The Speaker of the House and other Principal Officers send their greetings. We are here to perform our oversight functions and we are ready to work with the ministry to achieve success.



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