The Lagos state Government has put a stop on its sponsorship of religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and Israel quote, “It’s a waste of tax payers’ money.”
The policy was disclosed by the state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Abdullateef Abdulhakeem on Thursday, March 10, while hosting the House of Assembly Committee on Home Affairs who paid him a visit in Alausa, Ikeja.
Until now, it was customary that every year, the government sponsored Muslims and Christians on pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem in Israel, the trips which cost several millions of naira.
Abdulhakeem said the Quran did not mandate muslims to go for hajj if they do not have the financial capacity.
The Commissioner, the Governor and the State Executive Council gave the approval for the state government to stop sponsoring pilgrimages which align 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.”
According to Abdulhakeem, the state government has also set in motion a process of gathering data of religious organizations in the state and their location, with the sole aim of setting standards, giving orientation and providing security for them.
Responding to the development, 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 support the policy with the necessary legislation.
He said 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.