Lagos state government has said the state saved N4.5 billion in the last three years from Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s stoppage of sponsorship of people for religious pilgrimages to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, disclosed this yesterday. Speaking at the annual ministerial press briefing to mark the third year in office of Governor Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Abdullateef said funds saved had been converted into the construction of roads and other amenities to make life easier for the residents.
“You see, yearly in the past before the present administration came on board, the state government spent an average of N1.5billion to sponsor people to pilgrimage free of charge but since Governor Ambode decided to stop the sponsorship of pilgrimage, we have saved N4.5billion in the last three years and the governor has not changed his mind withregard to sponsorship of pilgrimages.
“What the governor has said and we have been doing is that the state government will provide for the welfare of the pilgrims, support them with medical tips, support them with clerics who would guide them to ensure that they are focused on the spiritual objectives of the pilgrimage and not something else. “So far, the funds saved from this have been deployed for the construction of roads and other amenities to make life easier forresidents,” Abdullateef said.
While alluding to the fact that some property owners were now converting their residential buildings into religious centres in order to avoid paying the land use charge, the commissioner warned those indulging in such to desist, saying it was important for all to operate within the ambit of the law.