The Ekiti State Government has said it would no longer sponsor pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.
The state Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, who made the disclosure, said the development is in line with the federal government’s decision to end sponsorship of pilgrims, thereby saving funds for development purposes.
A statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Odunayo Ogunmola, quoted Egbeyemi as speaking when he hosted members of the state Muslim pilgrims Welfare Board.
The board members led by Babatunde Onipede, its chairman, were on a courtesy visit to the deputy governor’s office which supervises the agency in the state.
In his remarks, Egebeyemi said the state no longer engages in sponsoring pilgrimages, adding that no allocation is made for it in the budget.
He asked those interested in visiting Mecca and Jerusalem for pilgrimage to seek private sponsorship.
“Both the federal government and the state government have said they will not spend their money on pilgrimages again and that is why there was no budgetary allocation to it,” he said.
“Anybody wishing to perform his religious obligation of going to the holy land must do so with his own personal savings and that was what I told the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) when their executives made a similar request because we must be fair to all.”
Egbeyemi said the board’s demand for office furniture and utility vehicles are legitimate and would be looked into.
In his address, Onipede commended Fayemi and his deputy for the appointment of board members.
He said the board was not functioning as it ought to during the administration of Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti.
“It was not functioning as a Board during the Fayose administration; it was just lying fallow there and was not run like a Board,” he said.